Walter Penetito was born in Matamata and was educated at Piarere and Waharoa Primary Schools, Matamata Intermediate and Matamata College. He attended Ardmore Teachers’ Training College and Massey University where he graduated with a B.A. in Education and Sociology. In 1973 he won an exchange teaching position at which point he and his family went to Essex, England. Penetito worked as a Māori Education Adviser in the Wanganui district from In 1983 he was awarded the Commonwealth Relations Trust Fellowship and spent a year in post-graduate study at the University of London. Penetito worked for five years in Auckland as a Senior Education Officer with the Department of Education. He has taught education at the University of Waikato. He is currently Group Manager for the Analytical Services Group in the Education Review Office in Wellington. He frequently presents papers at conferences in all areas related to Māori education. His main genre of writing is conference papers and research papers.
- Correspondence with Penetito, 4 Dec. 1992.
- "Taha Māori and the Core Curriculum." Delta 34 (July 1984): 35-43.
- In this discussion of core curriculum - those compulsory components of the education system that are supposedly ‘a selection from the culture of a society’ Penetito examines implications raised in the "Biculturalism, Multiculturalism and Māori Education" section of the Review of the Core Curriculum for Schools published in 1984 and discusses the role of taha Māori alongside the traditional core which Penetito states is essentially taha Pakeha. Penetito writes about different Māori viewpoints of the marginalisation of taha Māori in the education system. The ideal is to ‘blend in’ taha Māori with the existing core as opposed to simply adding it on. If it is to be blended in Penetito maintains that three questions have to be addressed: What is to count as knowledge? What is to count as a valid teaching and learning of that knowledge? How should the teaching and learning be assessed? Penetito looks at why Māori knowledge has been excluded from New Zealand education and asserts that it is because of the myth of racial and cultural superiority subscribed to by Pakeha. He concludes that power sharing must be involved in the process of recognising taha Māori in education.
- Taha Māori and the Core Curriculum. Delta 34. Massey University, 1984.
- "Māori Education For a Just Society." The April Report - New Zealand Today, Vol. 4: Social Perspectives. Wellington, N.Z.: Royal Commission on Social Policy, Apr. 1988. 89-114.
- "Tomorrow’s Skills: To Market, To Market...What’s There for the Māori." Curriculum: Core or Corset? Community and Business Views. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Planning Council, May 1991. 55-60.
- "Social Justice: The Role of Education in New Zealand." Proceedings of the National Evaluation Conference. Adelaide, Austral.: Australasian Evaluation Society, 1991. 409-414.
- "Education in Depth to Education in Breadth: An Iwi Response to Top Down Reforms." Qualifications for the 21st Century: International Conference, Conference Papers 21-24 January 1992. Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Jan. 1992. 433-446.
- "Commonwealth fellowship goes to Wanganui Māori adviser." Tu Tangata 13 (Aug./Sept. 1983): 16.
- This article includes biographical notes on Penetito and outlines his study plans as a recipient of the Commonwealth Relations Trust Fellowship.