Riwia was born in Wellington the daughter of Reremoana Taylor née Shelford of Ngāti Porou and journalist father Melvin Taylor who was press secretary to former Prime Minister Keith Holyoake. She was educated in Thailand, England and St Joseph’s Māori Girls College. After leaving school she lived in England, and on her return to New Zealand she worked for NZBC, Healing Industries and Rank Zerox. Riwia started writing in 1982 when she had time at home caring for her child. She entered her play Roimata in a TVNZ competition when they were looking for New Zealand dramas in 1982. In 1989 she wrote Te Hokina and in 1991 wrote her third play Nga Wahine which was first performed at Taki Rua in 1990. Riwia has made in-house videos including "Women Can do Anything" for Victoria Productions in 1988, a non-smoking video with Graham Tetley, and "Casting the Net" for the New Zealand Employment Service. She wrote the screenplay for the film Once Were Warriors and in 1994 received Best Screenplay award in the New Zealand Film and Television Awards. She wrote the screenplay for Flight of the Albatross and has written television scripts for the adaptation of Roimata in the Te Manuka Series. She wrote and directed a story on Johnson Kenny which was part of TVNZ’s True Life Series in 1994. She also wrote and co-directed a 20-minute script for the New Zealand component of a four-part series on conservation around the world produced by Avalon which was screened on Channel Four in the UK. She has subsequently been involved with writing for Mataku; The Legend of Johnny Lingo (2003), and Taonga: Treasures of Our Past (2006).
- Interview, phone conversation and correspondence with Riwia Brown, Aug. 1992, 3 and 7 Sept. 1998.
- He Reo Hou. Ed. Simon Garrett. Wellington, N.Z.: Playmarket. 1991.
- "Riwia Brown." http://www.nzonscreen.com/person/riwia-brown/biography
- "Ko Wai Ahau?" Mana 2 (1993): 87-88.
- Riwia Brown writes about her childhood years and the various influences that shaped her identity and inspiration as a Māori playwright.
- "My Name Helped Me Grow." Growing Up Māori. Ed. Witi Ihimaera. Auckland, N.Z.: Tandem Press, 1998. 246-248.
- Taku Hei Pounamu. Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa [N.Z.]: He Mea Whakaputa Tēnei Pukapuka mō Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga e Huia, c.2008.
- Nā Riwia Brown ngā korero; nā Ngaringi Walker I whakamāori; Nā Shane McGrath ngā pikitia.
- Taku hei pounamu. Wellington, N.Z.: He mea whakaputa tēnei pukapuka mō Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga e Huia, c2008.
- Translated by Ngaringi Walker and Illustrated by Shane McGrath.
- Nga Wahine. Prod. Taki Rua-Depot Theatre, Fringe Festival, International Festival of the Arts, Wellington, Mar. 1990.
- Riwia Brown states that this is a "contemporary story about two Māori women who had more in common than their Māori identity." Riwia has written a television adaptation of Nga Wahine which was screened in 1997.
- Roimata. He Reo Hou. Ed. Simon Garrett. Wellington, N.Z.: Playmarket. 1991. 164-218. An extract rpt. in Te Ao Mārama: Contemporary Māori Writing. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 3: Te Puāwaitanga O Te Kōrero: The Flowering. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 87-93.
- A play focussing on the impact of urbanisation on the Māori as two half-sisters Roimata and Girlie meet for the first time in Wellington. The play touches on the divergent values of urbanised Māori and those who have been raised in the traditional setting of the rural marae. Roimata was adapted for stage and was workshopped by Roma Potiki in 1987 and was first performed by Te Ohu Whakaari at the Depot Theatre, Wellington from 27 July - 7 August 1988, directed by Rangimoana Taylor. In 1989 Riwia Brown adapted Roimata for television and it was subsequently screened on television.
- Te Hokina. An extract in Te Ao Mārama: Contemporary Māori Writing. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 3: Te Puāwaitanga O Te Kōrero: The Flowering. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 93-108.
- Riwia Brown states that this is a play about "love revisited." The play was performed at the Depot Theatre, Wellington, in August 1990, directed by Apirana Taylor.
- The Debate. Dir. Helen Jamieson and Tamsin Larby. Bats Theatre, Wellington, June 1994.
- This play is about two schools, one Pakeha and the other Māori, who face each other at a national debating competition to debate whether Māori should be the national language of the country. The play faces the dilemma of both schools preparing their responses as the Pakeha school is assigned the affirmative position and the Māori school the negative. This play was adapted for radio and has been broadcast several times. A production of the play also toured secondary schools throughout New Zealand in 1996.
- Irirangi Bay. Dir. Murray Lynch. Prod. Taki Rua-Depot Theatre, Wellington, June 1996.
- A psychological thriller set in the 1950s about a newly married couple who move into a beachside homestead where the past profoundly impacts their lives.
- "Movies In The Making." Mana: The Māori News Magazine For All New Zealanders 3 (1993): 28-29.
- McDonnell, Brian. "Once Were Warriors: Film, Novel, Ideology." New Zealand Journal of Media Studies 1.2 (1994): 2-13.
- Walker, Ranginui. "Getting Real." Metro (Auckland)158 (Aug. 1994): 134-135.
- Houlahan, Mike. "Exploring the Lives of Gypsies; Mystery Story at Irirangi Bay." Evening Post 6 June 1996: 15.
- Cleave, Peter. "1981 and All That." Illusions 25 (1996): 48-51.
- Butcher, Margot. "Capital Theatre: A Wellington Drama In Three Acts." North and South October 1992: 90-99.
- Danny Mulheron, Riwia Brown, Anthony McCarten and James Beaumont talk about their work as playwrights in Wellington.
- Coughlan, Kate. "Nurturing the Warrior." Evening Post 19 May 1994: 16.
- Coughlan, Kate. "Warriors – a Scriptwriter’s Story." Evening Post 21 May 1994: 12.
- Dale, Judith. "Strokes and Art Attacks." Broadsheet 167 (1989): 34-35.
- Dale, Judith, "Women’s Theatre And Why." Australasian Drama Studies 18 (1991): 159-182.
- Dale writes about the work of women playwrights including Renée, Riwia Brown, Fional Farrell Poole and Lorae Parry.
- "Family Affairs." Salient 1988: 8. No further details.
- "Playing With Words." Capital Times 25-31 May 1994: 6.
- Rabbitt, Lindsay. "The Greatest Show On Earth." Listener 20 July 2002: 50-51.
- "Scene & Heard." NZ Woman’s Weekly 24 Feb. 1992: 56.
- A brief discussion of Riwia’s play Nga Wahine and Renée’s Te Ponaka Karaehe [The Glass Box].
- Smith, Patrick. "Warrior Woman." Listener 7 May 1994: 32-34.
- Erai, Michelle, Fuli, Everdina, Irwin, Kathie, and Wilcox, Lenaire. Māori Women: An Annotated Bibliography. [Wellington, N.Z.]: Michelle Erai, Everdina Fuli, Kathie Irwin and Lenaire Wilcox, 1991. 5.
- Parekowhai, Cushla. "A Tona Wa: Live at the Depot." Illusions 8 (1988): 27-28.
- Atkinson, Laurie. "Nga Wahine Reveals Vital Role of Whanau." The Evening Post 20 Feb. 1992: 22.
- Cooke, Patricia. "Brown’s Return Rewarding." Dominion Sunday Times 26 Aug. 1990: 12.
- Cooke, Patricia. "Hard Back To Simpler Days." Dominion Sunday Times 1 Mar. 1992: 23.
- Nichol, Ruth. "Played from a Totally Māori View." Dominion Supplement 22 Feb 1992: 7.
- "Scene & Heard." N.Z. Woman’s Weekly 24 Feb. 1992: 56.
- Brunton, Alan. "Māori Theatre More than a Performance." Dominion Sunday Times 21 July 1991: 22.
- Budd, Susan. "Roimata’s Story Simple and Strong." Dominion 22 July 1988:
- Dodds, Ian. "Roimata Welcomes Audiences." Te Awa Iti 29 July .
- Hannan, Deborah. "Life Drama Woven in Roimata." Evening Post 14 July 1988.
- Hansen, Mei-Lin. "Speaking Reflections: Whaikōrero (speech making) and Karanga (welcoming cry) in Recent Theatre by Māori Women." Pacific Studies 30.1/2 (2007): 131-158.
- Hunt, Ann. "Stage Guage." Agenda 45 (1988): 16-17.
- Mikalsen, Ron. "Performance: Onstage: True to life." Listener 24 Sep. 1988: 52.
- "Roimata Reaches Māori and Pakeha." Independent Herald 8 Aug 1988.
- "Roimata Returns To Stage." Te Maori News 3.14 (1994): 22.
- Russell, Karma. "Higher Profile For Māori Women." Te Māori News 3.19 (1994): 24.
- "Salvation Army Featured in New Play." Salvation Army Magazine: The War Cry 3 Sept 1988: 6.
- Samasoni, Samson. "Promising Debut for Actor-Writer." Evening Post 25 July 1988.
- Walker, Kim. "Roimata." Illusions 24 (1995): 28-29.
- "Young Playwright’s First Play." Kapiti Mail 20 July 1988.
- Boynton, Mere. "Te Hokina." Illusions 15 (1990): 25.
- Cooke, Patricia. "Brown’s Return Rewarding." Dominion Sunday Times 26 Aug. 1990: 12.
- Scott, Sue. "Wit, Insight and a Cheer at the Depot." The Evening Post 16 Aug 1990: 24.
- Vercoe, Moerangi. "Roimata Sequel Opening at The Depot." Dominion 15 Aug. 1990: 8.
- Welch, Denis. "Pain and Passion." Listener 10 Sept. 1990: 108.
- "Māori Language Play Appeals To Teenagers." Te Māori News 4.12 (1995): 7.
- "Māori Language Play On National Schools Tour." Pu Kaea June 1995: 24.
- Trudgeon, Bronwyn. Capital Times 20.01 (1994): 6.