Rangihau, known to his iwi as Te Nika, was born at Kuha, south of Waikaremoana and was educated at Kōkako Native School and Wesley College. He joined Māori Affairs as a Māori welfare officer in 1949 and in the same year married Wenarata Turipa Tait. In 1959 he graduated with a Diploma in Social Science from Victoria University. He later became a senior consultant to the Māori Affairs Department and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Māori Studies and Research at the University of Waikato. As chair of the Māori perspective advisory committee of the Department of Social Welfare, Rangihau had a key role in drawing attention to institutional racism within the department through the publication of Puao-te-ata-tu. In 1975 he was awarded the British Empire Medal. He wrote non-fiction articles, was a commanding orator, an expert of the haka, and a leader of the Tuhoe people.
- Phone contact with Roka Rangihau, Aug. 1998.
- Tu Tangata 25 (1985): 22.
- Te Ao Mārama: Regaining Aotearoa: Māori Writers Speak Out. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 2: He Whakaatanga O Te Ao: The Reality. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 101.
- Rangihau, Roka. "Rangihau, John Te Rangianiwaniwa." The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Vol. 5: 1941-1960. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland UP and the Dept. of Internal Affairs, 2000. 431-432.
- Ohakune Survey. Wellington, N.Z.: Dept. of Māori Affairs, 1958.
- Ngā Matua me ngā Tamariki o Ruatahuna: He Ripoata ki ngā Tangata. John McCreary and John Rangihau, 1958. No details.
- "Māori Culture Today." The New Zealand Social Worker: News and Opinions 3.4 (Nov. 1967): 3-13.
- In this discussion on Māori culture, Rangihau draws upon some insights of Rev. J .G. Laughton who wrote a paper on Māoritanga. His comments on Māori culture in many ways reflect a 1960s ethos when the Māori language was at a low ebb and when Māori urbanised youth were unfamiliar with many aspects of Māoritanga. Rangihau comments on the state of the Māori language in the 1960s, integration, turangawaewae, biculturalism, tribal identity and Māori spirituality.
- "Family Casework In Practice With Māori Families." The New Zealand Social Worker: News and Opinions 4.2 (May 1968): 47.
- A panel paper presented at the New Zealand Association of Social Workers (Inc) Biennial Conference, held at Lincoln College, Feb 7-10, 1968, in which Rangihau gives a background to the development of the Māori Welfare Division and he describes the Division’s orientation towards supporting the group or family as opposed to the individual.
- "I Am A Product Of All That My People Transmit To Me." NZ Listener 20 July 1974: 11-13.
- In the early 1970s Tipene O’Regan travelled up to a tangi at Ruatahuna where he talked with John Rangihau concerning his understanding of Māoritanga. The taped statement by Rangihau was transcribed and published in The Listener as part of the magazine’s quest to ‘glean a statement of what constitutes Māoritanga’ and follows a personal statement by O’Regan entitled "The Quest for Insights Into Māoritanga" which chronicles O’Regan’s journey up to Ruatahuna.
- "Being Māori." Te Ao Hurihuri: The World Moves On. Ed. Michael King. Wellington, N.Z.: Hicks Smith & Sons, 1975. 221-233. Rpt. in Te Ao Hurihuri: Aspects of Māoritanga. Ed. Michael King. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1992. 183-190.
- "Māoritanga." The Maungatapu Experience: A Visit To A Tauranga Marae By Auckland City Councillors, Council Staff And Community Workers. Ed. Haare Williams. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland City Council; Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council; U of Waikato Centre for Māori Studies Research, Nov. 1977. 29-32.
- A summary of a talk given by Rangihau during the visit of a group of Auckland City Councillors and staff at Maungatapu Marae, Tauranga, in November 1977. Rangihau gives a general overview of key aspects of Māori life and society - te reo, Māori spirituality, mauri, whenua, whanaungatanga, tangihanga, mana, turangawaewae, tapu and the marae.
- "The I-am-we of Māori Culture." Tu Tangata 25 (Aug./Sept. 1985): 22-23.
- By Hoani Rangihau as told to Michael Romanos.
- Puao-Te-Ata-Tu: Daybreak. The Report Of The Ministerial Advisory Committee On A Māori Perspective For The Department Of Social Welfare. Wellington, N.Z.: The Committee, 1986. Listed in M. K. Douglas’ Bibliography of Fading Expectations: The Crisis in Māori Housing (1986. 93-94).
- "Foreword: Learning And Tapu." Te Ao Hurihuri: Aspects of Māoritanga. Ed. Michael King. Auckland, N.Z.: Longman Paul, 1975. Rev. ed. 1977. Tihe Mauri Ora first published 1978. A combined and revised single-volume edition of both these works was published as Te Ao Hurihuri: Aspects of Māoritanga. Ed. Michael King. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1992. 9-14.
- Co-authored with Te Uira Manihera and Ngoi Pewhairangi
- "Te Whakaako i te Reo Māori he Whakaaro Noa." Te Ao Mārama: Regaining Aotearoa: Māori Writers Speak Out. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 2: He Whakaatanga O Te Ao: The Reality. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 101-107.
- Taylor, C. R. H. A Bibliography of Publications on the New Zealand Māori and the Moriori of the Chatham Islands. Oxford: Clarendon, Oxford UP, 1972. 8, 40, 57.