Cletus Paul was born in Murupara. He was a student at Hamilton Teachers’ College and graduated with a Teaching Certificate in 1974, a Diploma in Teaching in 1976 and a Bachelor of Social Science from the University of Auckland in 1977. Between 1975-1980 he taught in various secondary schools. He was a teaching fellow at the University in 1981 and from 1982-1984 was Liaison Tutor at Waiariki Polytechnic. In 1984 he studied training and re-training as a Fullbright Scholar at USA universities and community colleges and from 1985-1988 was Continuing Education Officer for the Department of Education. In 1987 he was a guest lecturer at the Indigenous Peoples’ World Conference on Education at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, where he had a paper on tribal strategies for survival published in the conference journal.
In 1990 Paul delivered a paper to the International Conference on Pacific Political Studies at Brigham Young University in Hawaii and in the same year was a member of the research team on Victims Task Force. In 1991 he gave a paper on Tino Rangātiratanga at the 12th Annual Conference of Political Studies Association at the University of Waikato. Later in the year he presented a paper on Ko Ta Te Māori Matauranga, The Body of Knowledge Māori, to the Union/Tertiary Research Conference at Victoria University, Wellington. He co-ordinated a working party on bicultural development to pervade the Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Waikato in 1991. From 1989-1993 he was a lecturer in bicultural education at the University of Waikato. In 1992 he presented a paper to the Indigenous Pacific Peoples’ Conference at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji, and also graduated M. Phil from the University of Auckland. In 1993 he organised and chaired the Indigenous Peoples’ of the Pacific Health Conference at Moerewa in Northland.
In 1997 Paul was appointed consultant lecturer of Masters students at the School of Business Management Studies at the University of Waikato. From 1997-2002 he was Executive Chair of the New Zealand Māori Council. He is a former chair of the now disbanded Te Waka Hauora o Aotearoa, The Māori Treaty Partner in Health. He currently chairs Mataatua District Māori Council and is on the executive committee of Te Waka Kai Ora, the Māori National Organic Organisation.
Paul operates a research and development company mainly involved in the Treaty of Waitangi claims. He owns and operates a twenty-acre organic kiwifruit orchard and is a director of Aotearoa Kiwifruit Exports Ltd. Paul was the executive chairperson of a national Māori fishing company and is a National Fisheries Negotiator.
Paul is a tribal member of Te Runanganui o Ngāti Awa, Whakatane and tribal consultant of Te Runanganui o Te Ika Whenua that covers Kaingaroa, Murupara, Waiohau, Te Whaiti and Minginui. He has been a company executive/director, research consultant, and principal of the Paparangi Consultancy Ltd. He has managed Sec. 438 Trusts, Māori Incorporations, Māori Trust Boards and Māori Companies. Paul has been Waiariki District Māori Council chair and is a recognised kaikōrero (orator) on the marae. He has Tohunga status in education and is a leading authority in bicultural development that is founded in the Treaty of Waitangi. He has a strong interest in seeking justice for all people: Tangata Whenua, Tauiwi and Manuhiri. As a descendant of Wairaka, he is schooled in the Māori feminine philosophy. Paul has written non-fiction articles published in New Zealand and has also had an article published in a Canadian educational magazine.
Paul was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Māori in 2019.
- Correspondence and phone conversation with Paul, 10 and 19 July 1998.
- Paul, Cletus. "Tribalism & Education." New Zealand Monthly Review 321 (Nov./Dec.1989): 4-5.
- "Māori Control Is Essential."Tu Tangata 33 (1986/87): 11.
- "Waiariki Māori Wardens Conference - February 25 & 26 1984: Opening Address." Māori Wardens News: The official publication of the N.Z. Māori Warden’s Association 5.1 (May 1984): 61+.
- "Cultural strategies for retaining Fisheries, Forestries and Land." Canadian Journal of Native Education 14.3 (1987). No further details.
- "Tribalism & Education." New Zealand Monthly Review 321 (Nov./Dec. 1989): 4-5. Rpt. in PPTA Journal 1 (1990): 6-8.
- A discourse in which Paul defines issues of Māori identity using the language of tribe or nation and re-examines the relationship between tangata whenua and tauiwi. Paul states that the ‘continuity of consciousness’ with its origins in Māori ‘memories of thousands of years of existence in the Pacific’ has to be rebuilt into education. Paul distinguishes between the different views of education held by tangata whenua and tauiwi. He asserts that ‘[t]he myth being created by the Tauiwi Treaty partner of harmonious co-existence MUST be debunked both locally and internationally. All people of Aotearoa have to ask themselves. ‘Do I live a life of deceit? Or do I act honourably with reasonable and good faith towards my Treaty partner.’ And Paul concludes that ‘what is good for the Tangata Whenua will be doubly better for the whole of Aotearoa.’ This article was presented as a public lecture in September 1989 and was adapted from the keynote lecture Paul gave at Waikato University in September of 1989.
- "The Māori Scientific Body of Knowledge." Science of the Pacific Island Peoples. V. IV. Ed. John Morrison, Paul Geraghty, Linda Crowl. Fiji: Institute of Pacific Studies, 1994. 167-172.
- Scott, Sue. "Māori Leader Opposes Sale Of NZ Land." Evening Post 18 Jan 1990: 13.
- "Māori Control Is Essential." Tu Tangata 33 (Dec 86/Jan 87): 11.
- This article summarises Paul’s views on Māori radio. Paul argues that ‘[a] successful Māori system of broadcasting...could best be worked out in consultation with the Māori people who have experience in the media.’ Also included are the goals of Mana Māori Media.