Mark Kopua was born in Gisborne and educated at Mangatuna, Tolaga Bay and Miramar South primary schools, Evans Bay Intermediate School and Te Aute College. He has spent 28 years working in whakairo – working on seven meeting houses and thousands of commissions. He has also worked in Ta Moko for over seven years. In May 1981 Mrs Mahue Grace and Kopua began tutoring the Putahi Group which was composed of ex-pupils from various Māori boarding schools who were based in Wellington, N.Z. This group, more than solely meeting for kapahaka, became for many of its members a whanau away from their whanau. Mahue Grace and Mark Kopua, collectively and separately, composed all the original poetry for this group and others. Kopua likens his two songs listed in this entry ‘with a level of poetry not unlike the impulsive speeches heard on or Marae’ and notes that this was ‘where the inspiration to compose them was sought.’
- Correspondence from Mark Kopua on 16 Sept. 2004.
- "Mā Wai Rā E Kawera ngā Tohu o Erā/ Who Will Carry the Emblem." The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Poetry/Ngā Kupu T˚tohu o Aotearoa. Ed. Miriama Evans, Harvey McQueen and Ian Wedde. Auckland, N.Z.: Penguin, 1989. 425-426. Written in Māori with English translation.
- Kopua composed this song in early 1985 for the Putahi Group who perfomed it as an action song and poi at the 1986 National Kapahaka Competitions in Christchurch. Kopua writes: ‘this song raises the question "who will carry the signs/knowledge or nobility of those ancestors gone?" It speaks of the anguish of a generation facing the changes and the challenges of a new age.’
- "Te Ahi Paura Auahi E/ Little Smoking Ember." The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Poetry/Ngā Kupu T˚tohu o Aotearoa. Ed. Miriama Evans, Harvey McQueen and Ian Wedde. Auckland, N.Z.: Penguin, 1989. 426-428. Written in Māori with English translation.
- Kopua states: ‘[this] is a song that acknowledges Mahuika and her gift of fire to mankind. It recognises all Māori goddesses and their respective contributions to out existence.’ This song was composed in early 1985.