Whaimutu Dewes was born in Whakatane and educated at primary schools in Tikitiki, Bombay, Auckland, Manurewa, and Wellington. He attended Wellington College during his high school years. In 1976 he graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a B.A. majoring in Māori language and LL.B majoring in public law. He received the Sir Peter Buck prize for highest level of distinction in study of Anthropology. In 1988 he was guest scholar in research of economic developments applicable to Māori people in an Economic Studies Programme at Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., USA. In 1988 he graduated with a Master in Public Administration (MPA) from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA, where he focused on finance, organisation design, and government-business. From 1977-83 he was a Legal Adviser for the Department of Justice in Wellington and from 1983-87 was Office Solicitor (Chief Legal Adviser) in the Department of Māori Affairs in Wellington. From 1989-1994 Dewes was a senior executive of Fletcher Challenge Ltd in Auckland and from 1993-95 was a Director of Moana Pacific Fisheries Ltd in Auckland. He was a director of Salmond Smith Biolab Ltd in Auckland from He has chaired Chatham Processing Ltd and Pacific Marine Farms Ltd since 1996. He has been a Director of Sealord Products Ltd since 1992 and a member of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission since 1990. Dewes has been a Director of Television New Zealand since 1995 and has been chair of the Ngāti Porou Whanui Forests Ltd. since 1989. He is a member of the New Zealand Law Society, the Institute of Directors and the Institute of Management.
- Correspondence from Whaimutu Dewes, 12 Jan. and 17 Aug. 1998.
- "Te Tiriti O Waitangi: Nga Ahutanga Ona E Pa Ana Ki Te Ture. Legal Aspects of the Treaty." He Kōrero mo Waitangi, 1984: He Tohu Aroha, Ki Nga Tupuna: "Talk, Conciliate and Heal". Eds. Arapera Blank, Manuka Henare and Haare Williams. [Ngaruawahia, N.Z.]: Te Runanga o Waitangi, 1985. 14-23.
- In this paper Dewes discusses whether the Treaty is a valid agreement. He also examines the laws concerning the interpretation of the Treaty and the jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal and Ratification.
- "Māori Land in New Zealand." New Zealand Surveyor 31.3 (1985): 248-259.
- Dewes discusses the traditional Māori view of the land and traditional methods of establishing land claims. He also outlines the steps made by the New Zealand Crown and legislation which impacted on and changed this traditional system. Dewes assesses the present situation in which 4.5% of New Zealand’s total area is designated as Māori land, and he surmises on Māori land in the future. This paper was presented at the regional seminar of the Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy (CASLE) held in Fiji in October 1984.
- "Te Tiriti O Waitanga: Nga Ahutanga Ona E Pa Ana Ki Te Ture/Legal Aspects of The Treaty." He Kōrero mo Waitangi, 1984. He Tohu Aroha, Ki Nga Tupuna "Talk, Conciliate, and Heal." Ed. Arapera Blank. Manuka Henare, and Haare Williams. Ngaruawahia, N.Z.: Te Runanga o Waitangi, 1985. 14-23.
- In this paper Dewes discusses whether the Treaty is a valid agreement. He also examines the laws concerning the interpretation of the Treaty and the jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal and Ratification..
- "Address on Culturally Appropriate (Māori) Economic Development." Traditional Knowledge and Sustainable Development. Eds. Shelton H. Davis and Katrinka Ebbe. Washington D.C., USA: World Bank, 1993.
- This paper "argues that traditional knowledge and values are prerequisite to sustainable development."
- "Principles for Resource Distribution." Kia Pumau Tonu: Proceedings of the Hui Whakapumau. Palmerston North, N.Z.: Massey U, 1994.
- Dewes writes that this article "describes the issues required to be addressed in distributing resources to communities, hapu, iwi."
- "Fisheries - A Case Study of an Outcome." Treaty Settlements: The Unfinished Business. Ed. Geoff McLay. Wellington, N.Z.: NZ Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, 1995. 129-140.
- Dewes writes that this paper "discusses how fisheries is an example of negotiation on claims under the Treaty of Waitangi."
- "Employment Issues Arising Out of the Treaty of Waitangi." Employment and the Future of Work: Harkness Employment Conference 9-10 May, 1995 Park Royal Hotel, Wellington. Ed. Gary Hawke. Wellington, N.Z.: Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria U of Wellington, N.Z., 1996. 161-163.
- Dewes states that this paper "argues that the issues under the Treaty of Waitangi turn on control and choice, and Māori control is required to address Māori employment."