Agnes McFarland was born in Auckland and attended Ruatoki School and Trident High School. She continued her studies at Wellington College of Education and graduated with a Certificate of Early Childhood Education in 1988, a Diploma of Primary Teacher Training in 1992, and a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University majoring in Māori, Anthropology and Education in 1992. She went on to teach as a Bilingual Teacher at Titahi Bay Intermediate from 1993-94 before taking up an appointment as Lecturer in Te Aho Tatairangi Bachelor of Teaching Programme and the Raukura programme at Massey University College of Education from In 2003 she completed a MA thesis (1st class hons.) from Massey University and is currently enrolled in Doctoral studies in the School of Māori Studies, Te Putahi a Toi, Massey University.
Agnes writes: “From 1987-2003. I have been involved in a variety of Māori Arts. These include designing costumes, murals, letterheads and logos, cover designs for drama productions, plaques, illustrations for books, writing children’s literature and [taking part in] exhibitions. I have exhibited at the Taumata gallery – “Ngā Tamariki o te kohu”, Wellington City Gallery – “Te Ao Hurihuri”, Te Kupenga o Te Matauranga – “Te Kunenga mai i Hawaiki”, Manawatu Māori Arts Festival, Massey University Students’ Association – “Women in the 90s”.’
Agnes assisted the Tuhoe Education Authority in compiling the papa kupu – Tuhoe dictionary. She was nominated on to the Te Tohu Pōkairua Kura Kaupapa Māori Bachelor Degree Working Party to write the degree programme for Kura Kaupapa Māori. She was a member of the Science Advisory Committee for the Ministry of Education from 1993-94 and was a translator of the Kia Kaha anti-bullying programme organised by New Zealand Police in 2000. She has been guest speaker at various conferences, represented Massey University at the World Indigenous Peoples’ Educational Conference in Hilo-Hawaii, 1999, and judged Manu Kōrero Speech Contest from 1999-2002. She was Moderator for the Anamata Private Training Establishment in Whakatane from 1999-2003 and is a trustee for the Ngakahi Charitable Trust. On December 7 2005 Agnes was a research writer for Nga Rauru o Nga Potiki Land Claims in Te Urewera. She produced a final report for the Ruatoki Claims and gave evidence to the Waitangi Tribunal and the Crown on January 16 2005.
Agnes was commissioned by Turakina Māori Girls’ College to instruct senior art students and staff using natural resources in their research, design and creation of the school centennial project “Te Whararauika”. This consisted of 25 4.2 metre poupou depicting the Māori world view of creation and the history of local iwi and Turakina Māori Girls’ College, May-November 2005.
- Correspondence from Agnes McFarland on 2 Nov. 2005.
- "Te Kereru o te Urewera." Te Wharekura 40 (1993). No further details.
- Agnes McFarland writes a tangi to her late grandfather.
- "He Mahi H˚anga." He Kohikohinga Tuawaru (1993). No further details.
- "Ko ōku Hoa." He Kohikohinga Tuawaru (1993).
- "Maria Te Taniwha." 1994. No details.
- "Toku Kunenga mai i Hawaiki." 1995. No details.
- "Te Rakau Poroporoaki." 1996. No details.
- "Nga Rau Huia o Te Urewera." 1996. No details.
- "Te Paharakeke." 1996. No details.
- "Te Poroporoaki a Tuhoe." 1996. No details.
- "Nga Wahine o Mataatua." 1997. No details.
- "Te Ahua O Te Poroporoaki Ki A Ngai Tuhoe: He Tuhinga Whakapae Hai Whakaae I Ngā Whāinga Mo Te Tohu Pae Tuarua I Roto I Te Whare Wānanga O Manawatu - Te Kunenga Ki Purehuroa." MA thesis Massey U, 2003.
- McFarland writes: the thesis ‘deals with the Tuhoe concepts of death and farewelling the spirits of the dead.’