Ranginui Walker was born in Lower Waiaua, Ōpōtiki, and grew up in the Rahui Valley. He was educated at ōmarumutu Native School, the Convent School in ōpōtiki and St. Peter’s Māori College from He trained as a teacher at Auckland Teachers’ College and qualified with a Teacher’s C certificate in 1953 and a Dip Tchg in 1962. From 1952-62 he was a teacher at Te Horo Māori School, Punaruku District High School, Mt Eden Primary School and Dominion Rd Primary School. Alongside his teaching, Walker studied Anthropology at the University of Auckland and graduated with a B.A. (1962), an M.A. (1965) and a PhD (1970).
In 1962 Walker became a lecturer in Māori Studies at Auckland Teachers’ College and in 1967 began teaching in the Anthropology Department at the University of Auckland. From 1970 -1985 he was lecturer in Māori Studies and general Sociology at the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Auckland. In 1973 he was appointed Senior Lecturer. He was seconded to assist the organisation of the Educational Development Conference in 1974 and returned to lecturing duties in 1975. He was appointed Associate Professor of Māori Studies in 1986 and in the following two years was also guest lecturer at the University of Waikato Centre for Continuing Education. In 1991 he was appointed Alternative Chair of the NZQA and did degree accreditations for Te Wananga o Raukawa (BMS), Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi (BMS), Takitimu School of Performing Arts, Te Ara Poutama (Auckland Institute of Technology) (BMS), Tauranga Polytech (BMS), Whitireia Polytech, and Eastern Institute Tech (BMS). Walker was appointed Professor and HOD of Māori Studies at Auckland University in 1993 and Pro Vice Chancellor (Māori) in 1997. He retired from his university positions in 1998. From 2000-2004 Walker was Amorangi at Manukau Institute of Technology, and in 2004 he was appointed to the Waitangi Tribunal.
Walker has held memberships of many organisations including: Auckland Regional Committee Historic Places Trust (1968-73); Auckland District Māori Council, secretary (1969-73) and chair (1974-90); New Zealand Māori Council (1970-90); Māori Community Centre Management Committee secretary (1974-81); Foreign Aid Committee of Foreign Affairs member (1975-76); Orakei Marae Trust Board member (1974-84) and chair (1979-84); Executive of the World Council of Indigenous People (WCIP) (1974), NZ Māori Council delegate (1975-88), and Pacific Regional Council member (1984-87). From 1994-8, he was a negotiator for the Whakatōhea Raupatu Land Claim and from 1996-8 was a member of the Whakatōhea Trust Board. Walker held memberships of the National Advisory Committee on Māori Education (1975-80), the Auckland College of Education Council (1987-89), and was President of Matawhanui (Māori University Workers’ Association) (1989-92). He has been a Member of the Auckland Coast-Guard since 1971.
In 1969 Walker was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship and in 1970 received the Winiata Memorial Prize for his thesis “Māoris in a Metropolis.” In 1972 he was the recipient of an Imperial Relations Trust Bursary and spent six months studying adult education in the United Kingdom. He was appointed a Fellow of the NZEI in 1996, and was awarded the Elsdon Best Memorial Medal in 1997 and the DCNZM in 2001.
Walker has published a large volume of non-fiction articles, papers and publications on many Māori issues. He has had a fortnightly and later monthly “Kōrero” column in the NZ Listener. From 1994-7 Walker was Associate Editor of Sites: A Journal of South Pacific Studies, published by Massey University. He was a member of the Māori Committee of New Zealand Biographical Dictionary from 1991-2001 and since 2003 has chaired the Māori Committee Te Ara (Encyclopedia of New Zealand, on-line).
Walker has stated “I feel that it has been my responsibility to help remove the scales from Pakeha eyes”. He also states “Most of my writing is directed at Pakehas to open their eyes.” A number of the annotations below have been provided by Walker and appear in quotation.
"In 2004 Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou: Struggle Without End (Revised Edition) was published by Penguin. This revised edition contains two new chapters (over 100 pages) and includes the last decade and a half, bringing us up to 2004.
Tohunga Whakairo: Paki Harrison: The Story of a Master Carver was published by Penguin in 2008. This major biography by Ranginui Walker traces Paki Harrison's life and work, from his privileged upbringing in the Ngāti Porou household of his grandmother, to where he was singled out for special training. Tohunga Whakairo: Paki Harrison won the 2009 Nga Kupu Ora Book Award for Biography.
Ranginui Walker received the 2009 Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Non-Fiction, worth $60,000, in recognition of contribution to New Zealand literature.
Ranginui Walker passed away 29 February 2016."
- Correspondence from Ranginui Walker: 19 August 1998, 4 and 9 November 2004, 9 and 14 June 2005.
- Te Ha Questionnaire 1992.
- NZ Listener 6 June 1987: 26-27.
http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/writers/walkerranginui.html 23 September 2016