Chris Winitana was born in Taumarunui and was educated at Kawerau Intermediate, Fraser High School, Melville High School, and Huntly College. In 1979 he went to the University of Waikato and in 1980 attended the Wellington Polytechnic Journalism School for one year. He has worked as a journalist for the Waikato Times (1981), New Zealand Herald (1982), and for Sunday News (1983-85). In 1986 Winitana was employed by the Journalism Training Board to recruit more Māori journalists; he spent two years travelling through New Zealand establishing Māori journalist courses and teaching at the Waiariki Māori Journalism Course in 1987. From 1988-1993 Winitana and his sister founded and established Nga Tama a Rangi Kohanga Reo in Hamilton and in 1988 Winitana was cofounder and sole teacher of a private school, Te Kura o Te Ahorangi, which catered for 7 to 14 year-old students. In 1993 he moved to Turangi with his partner and started Te Whare Ahorangi, a school of Māori arts which includes language arts, performing arts and survival arts.
Winitana has written short stories which have been published in various magazines including Tu Tangata and Mana, and he also has an unpublished collection of short stories. He has written several major non-fiction articles in Mana, and has written some 250 songs for the kohanga reo. In 1992 Winitana wrote the musical Ahorangi-Genesis which was performed by Te Hei o Tahoka in 1992-93. He has been working on a novel entitled Te Koi o te Mere which is yet to be published. With his whanau he has established the business Ahi Kaa which is a Māori publishing company dealing with the written word, oral sound and images. The company produces lesson plans which are written and translated into Māori by Winitana.
- Phone conversation with Chris Winitana on 17 Sept. 1998.
- Te Ao Mārama: Contemporary Māori Writing. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 3: Te Puāwaitanga o Te Kōrero: The Flowering. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 22.
- Kay, Alison. "Theatre: Māori Musical." Listener 13 Feb. 1993: 42.
- "White in Brown." Tu Tangata 31 (1986): 28+. Rpt. in Te Ao Mārama: Contemporary Māori Writing. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 3: Te Puāwaitanga o Te Kōrero: The Flowering. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 22-26.
- When Johnny considers selling the family land, his wife Nancy remembers the powerful words of Johnny’s grandfather railing against land sales.
- "Sticks and Stones." Mana: The Māori News Magazine for All New Zealand 4 (1993): 56-57.
- A story of the internal monologue of Tutuki Ropata as he waits for sentencing in an assault case. The story highlights cultural divides, the power of words and Tutuki’s growing sense of the powerlessness of his words in the courtroom.
- Aho Rangi Genesis: The Musical Video. Dir. and prod. Chris Winitana. Te Whare Ahorangi, 1992.
- Maui Quest For Fire. Dir. and prod. Chris Winitana. Te Whare Ahorangi, 1992.
- Maui Godsign: The Birth. Dir. and prod. Chris Winitana. Te Whare Ahorangi, 1995.
- Aho Matua. Writ. and prod. Christ Winitana. Audiocassettes (3). Peak Records; Ode Records, 1992.
- Māori language dramatisation of the twelve traditional creation stories. Each story is narrated with background music and voices.
- Ahorangi Genensis Album One. Writ. and prod. Chris Winitana. Peak Records; Ode Records, 1992.
- Fourteen songs: twelve in te reo Māori and two in English.
- Aho Waiata. Writ. and prod. Chris Winitana. Peak Records; Ode Records, 1992. Twelve childrens songs in te reo Māori with each one telling one of the Māori creation stories.
- Ngā Atua Māori. Writ. and prod. Chris Winitana. Peak Records, Ode Records, 1992.
- Eight song tableaux - traditional lullabies that run into a modern day lullaby.
- Te Oriori. Writ. and prod. Chris Winitana. Audiocassettes (3). Ahi Kaa, 1996.
- 42 children’s songs in te reo Māori.
- Ahorangi Genesis Album Two. Writ. and prod. Chris Winitana. Ahi Kaa, 1996.
- Thirteen songs from the musical.
- Rangi Raua Ko Papa - Toku Ao. Writ. and prod. Chris Winitana. Audiocassettes (3). Ahi Kaa, 1998.
- A collection of a dozen Māori language children’s rhymes and ditties.
- "Te Whaea O Te Rohe: Rev. Hana Hauraki Reflects the Old, and the New." Christopher Winitana. Te Māori Aug./Sept. (1980): 45.
- An article on the work and beliefs of Rev. Hana Hauraki who was appointed minister for the Māori division at Mt Victoria’s Methodist complex in Wellington in 1980.
- "Kiwi Home-Grown Music." Tu Tangata 8 (1982): 32-33.
- A portrait of Hamilton-born singer Marama Tahiata.
- "Perhaps Our Tipuna Lie Watching..." Tu Tangata 33 (1986/87):18-19.
- Winitana writes of the emotions experienced by the performer during Te Whakaeke, Te Waiata Tawhito, Te Poi, Te Waiata-a-Ringa, Te Kokiri, Te Haka and Te Whakawatea.
- "The Meaning Of Mana." New Zealand Geographic 5 (1990): 107-111.
- Drawing from personal experience and the life of his grandfather Pateriki Hura, Winitana illustrates the many different facets of mana.
- "It’s A Way Of Life: Te Hei O Tahoka." Mana: The Māori News Magazine for All New Zealanders 1 (1993): 68-72.
- Winitana discusses the vision and development of Te Hei o Tahoka and Nga Tama a Rangi kohanga reo.
- "Ahorangi Genesis." Mana: The Māori News Magazine For All New Zealand 4 (1993): 28-29.
- A short article on the 14-week Ahorangi Genesis tour in 1993.
- "From Words To Wood." Mana: The Māori News Magazine For All New Zealanders 6 (1994): 12-15.
- Winitana writes a profile of tohunga whakairo Pakariki Harrison and describes the lessons he learnt as a father and journalist during the interview.
- Legends of Aotearoa. Harper Collins, 2010.
- Text by Chris Winitana. Photographs by Andy Reisinger.
- My Language, My Inspiration. Wellington, N.Z.: Huia, 2011.
- Tōku Reo, Tōku Ohooho: Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou. Wellington, N.Z.: Huia, 2011.
- Ahorangi Genesis: The Book. Hamilton, N.Z.: Te Whare Ahorangi, 1992.
- "Poking Tongues (From Te Koi o te Mere)." Tu Tangata 25 (Aug./Sept. 1986): 60-61. Rpt as ‘From Te Koi [Kao] o te Mere.’ In Te Ao Mārama: Contemporary Māori Writing. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 3: Te Puāwaitanga o Te Kōrero: The Flowering. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 26-31.
- Winitana skilfully describes the mounting tension as Rameka and his kapa haka group prepare themselves for the haka. Slowly the rhythm of the language begins to take up the beat of the haka, the sentences become shorter, staccatoed and punctuated until Rameka lets out the opening call and the haka begins.
- Ahorangi Collection. Turangi, N.Z.: Ahi Kaa, 1996.
- A collection of 31 books of which 25 are the small reader type. The collection is divided into 3 sets: the Iho series which includes 25 Māori language reader books; the Aho series composed of 5 middle size books which describe ‘the world through the eyes of a 12 year old boy’; and one feature book Te Rakau Matarua, a 50-page fiction story about a teenage boy who is introduced by an elderly uncle to the fighting arts of the Māori people.
- Rangi Raua Ko Papa Toku Au. Turangi, N.Z.: Ahi Kaa, 1997.
- A children’s shared reading book with Māori language and English language versions
- Ahorangi Genesis: The Musical. Writ. and prod. Chris Winitana. 1992.
- A story about the traditional Māori view of Genesis involving the 12 main traditional stories. Winitana began writing this musical in February 1992 and it was premiered in Hamilton in late November. Winitana worked as the choreographer and producer of the show and wrote its 60 songs in Māori and English in six weeks. It was performed by Te Hei o Tahoka, parents and families of children attending Nga Tama a Rangi Kohanga Reo and Te Ahorangi Kura Wananga in Hamilton. A book including the script of the show was published in 1992 and entitled Ahorangi Genesis: The Book. Another book Te Aho Matua was published in 1992 with Māori text with the twelve Genesis creation stories in their traditional format.
- Maui Quest for Fire. Writ., dir. and prod. Chris Winitana. 1992-93.
- This 45 minute show toured schools in 1992-93 and is a retelling of the traditional story of how Maui brought to fire back to the world. Winitana wrote, directed and produced this musical.
- Maui: God Sign: The Birth. Writ., dir. and prod. Chris Winitana. Perf. Ahurewa, 1995.
- Winitana wrote, directed and produced this production performed by a new group called Ahurewa. It is the retelling of the story of the birth of Maui in a contemporary format utilising versions of the traditional stories. A 45-minute production which toured nationwide to schools over a nine month period in 1995.
- Maui: The Jawbone And The Sun. Writ., dir. Chris Winitana. Perf. Ahurewa, 1996.
- In 1996 Ahurewa performed this show written and directed by Winitana. It is a 45-minute retelling of how Maui got the jaw bone of one of hs ancestors to slow down the sun. It toured nationwide in 1996.
- Maui And The Fish. Writ. Chris Winitana. Perf. Ahurewa, 1998.
- Written by Winitana in 1998 and performed in a nation-wide tour of schools by Ahurewa. This is a retelling of the story of how Maui fished up the North Island of Aotearoa. A 45-minute production.
- Kay, Alison. "THEATRE: Māori Musical." Listener 13 Feb. 1993: 42.
Tōku Reo, Tōku Ohooho, My Language, My Inspiration
- Ellison, Meagan. "Reviews." Rev. of Tōku Reo, Tōku Ohooho, by Chris Winitana. Rev. of My Language, My Inspiration, by Chris Winitana. Te Karaka 52 (2011): 66.