Rauru Kirikiri was born in Te Kaha and was educated at Te Kaha Primary School and St Stephen’s School, Auckland. He went on to Auckland University where he graduated with a B.A. 1968, and an M.A. in Anthropology (Linguistics) in 1973. In 1970 and 1971 he also taught at Māngere College in Auckland. From 1972-73, he lectured in Māori Studies at Auckland University.
Rauru joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1974; he worked first as the Papua New Guinea desk officer until 1976 when he was posted to Washington D.C. He returned to Wellington in 1980 to be desk officer for North America until his secondment to the State Services Commission in 1981. He returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1983 and was posted to the New Zealand High Commission in Suva, Fiji from 1984 to 1986. From there he spent the next two years at the New Zealand High Commission in London.
In 1988 Rauru was appointed Deputy Secretary (Policy) in the Department of Māori Affairs; one of his prime tasks was to be the Chair of the Committee that restructured the Māori Affairs portfolio. In 1989 he took up the appointment of Director Policy and Planning in the new Ministry of Māori Affairs (Manatu Māori) that emanated from the restructuring. From 1992-93 he was seconded to the Department of Justice’s Treaty Policy Unit.
In 1993 Rauru took up the position of Treaty Responsibilities Manager at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research in Christchurch, a position he still holds.
Rauru writes mainly non-fiction articles associated with his work in environmental management science for Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.
- Correspondence from Rauru Kirikiri on 28 July 1998 and 23 June 2004.
- "Māori Development and Devolution." Devolution and Accountability: Studies in Public Administration, No. 34: Proceedings of the 1988 Conference of the New Zealand Institute of Public Administration. Ed. John Martin and Jim Harper. Wellington, N.Z.: GP Books, 1988. 116-120. Discussion 120-123.
- Co-authors Rauru Kirikiri and Tipene O’Regan.
Kirikiri presents a background to the Green Paper - Partnership Perspectives/He Tirohanga Rangapu which was launched in April 1988. He notes the steps towards devolution in the Måori Affairs Department: these included the Hui Taumata in 1984, the 1985 ministerial review of the Department, the Devolution Implementation Committee of 1987, and an officials committee of 1988 that subsequently compiled He Tirohanga Rangapu. Kirikiri discusses the consultation hui following the publication of He Tirohanga Rangapu. Tipene O’Regan comments on devolution in connection with the Treaty of Waitangi and issues of accountability from the perspective of Ngāi Tahu.
- "Harvesting of New Zealand Native Birds by Māori." Proceedings of the "Conservation Through Sustainable Use of Wildlife" Symposium, University of Queensland, Brisbane. Ed. R. Kirikiri, G. Nugent. Brisbane, Austral.: U of Queensland, 1995. 54-59.
- A presentation on various issues surrounding the harvesting of native birds by Māori.
- "Mo Te Ako Māori I Nga Kura Tuarua." Rongo 1.1 (1973/74): 16.