Mana Cracknell was born on the Mahia Peninsula and was educated at Mahia Māori School and Hato Paora College in Feilding. He studied Māori language at the University of Auckland where he was president of the Māori Club. He went to Teachers’ Training College in Auckland and graduated with a Diploma of Teaching. Cracknell taught at Karamu High School in Hastings and Taradale High School in Napier. He taught te reo Māori and led retraining programmes for the unemployed at Hawkes Bay Polytech (now EIT). He worked for the Education Department and for the Career Development Service in Hawkes Bay. He spent a period of time working for his iwi Rongomaiwahine and during a period of unemployment worked on carving and flax paper prints based on the Wananga Aio. Cracknell worked for the Palmerston North College of Education and currently is lecturing in Napier in the Ruawharo Centre, an outpost of the Massey University College of Education. Cracknell began writing while he was a student at Hato Paora; since that time has written poetry, non-fiction articles, computer programmes and tribal affidavits. His fiction writing has been influenced by the whakatauaki and pepeha forms and by Japanese haiku. He is now concentrating on non-fiction work. He has written a study in waste management from a Māori perspective for the Ministry for the Environment and an article on reed craft published in the National Geographic. Recently he has been writing material on the wananga. Cracknell also produced papers about mana whenua and mana moana and mana moriori which he used in the Waitangi Tribunal Case for the tangata whenua of the Chatham Islands. He teaches a paper on writing in Māori’ te kōrero paki. He was the Māori representative at the first World Youth Conference sponsored by the United Nations in New York in the 1970s.
- Phone conversation with Mana Cracknell, 17 June 1998.
- Into the World of Light: An Anthology of Māori Writing. Ed. Witi Ihimaera and D. S. Long. Auckland, N.Z.: Heinemann, 1982.
- Te Whakaari o Takitimu: Planning in Waste Management: Guidelines for Māori. [Wellington, N.Z.]: Produced for the Ministry for the Environment (Manatu mo te Taiao) by Te Wai-Puanga (Aqua-Rigel), .
- A guide for Māori on strategic planning for waste management with examples drawn from traditional Māori society and research in the Ngaati Rongomaiwahine-Ngaati Kahungunu territory.
- "The Last Fish." Into the World of Light: An Anthology of Māori Writing. Ed. Witi Ihimaera and D. S. Long. Auckland, N.Z.: Heinemann, 1982. 198.
- A three-line poem contemplating the overfishing of the "offspring of/Tangaroa."
- "A Bearing At Sea." Into the World of Light: An Anthology of Māori Writing. Ed. Witi Ihimaera and D. S. Long. Auckland, N.Z.: Heinemann, 1982. 198.
- Two-line verse on the north-south movement of a piece of driftwood.
- "Heaviness." Into the World of Light: An Anthology of Māori Writing. Ed. Witi Ihimaera and D. S. Long. Auckland, N.Z.: Heinemann, 1982.
- The poet calls attention "to the clicking of flax" which he states is "a death sign of my sadness."
- Archie, Carol. "Why Māori Teachers Leave." Mana: The Māori News Magazine for All New Zealanders 3 (1993): 80.
- Cracknell and Haromi Kopu discuss why they left the teaching profession.
- Wilson, Rodney and Maui Solomon. "Te Rangimata: He Waka-Pahi, He Waka Humarie." Bearings 2.1 (1990): 18-23.
- A discussion of the raupo raft-boat, Te Rangimata, made by Mana Cracknell for the 1990 Treaty commemorations.