Martha Shelford was born in Waharoa and was educated at Ngaruawahia School. She left school at thirteen to look after her aunt. After her aunt’s death she looked after her nephews and nieces. She worked in Auckland for two years and met her husband. When she was twenty-one she returned to Ngaruawahia and in the following years had six children. She moved with her family to Hamilton a number of years ago and works as a school caretaker. She decided to catch up on her literacy skills and began attending Vena Brooks’ adult reading class. Brooks encouraged Shelford to write; in one of her classes Shelford wrote "Scenes of My Childhood".
- Phone interview with Shelford, Aug. 1992.
- Gadd, Bernard. Pacific Voices: An Anthology of Māori and Pacific Writing. Comp. Bernard Gadd. Auckland, N.Z.: Macmillan, 1989. No further details.
- "Scenes of My Childhood." Crosscurrent: Art, Culture, History and Ideas [inc. Pacific Quarterly Moana and Rimu] 1.2 (1987: 22-24. Rpt. in Pacific Voices: An Anthology of Māori and Pacific Writing. Comp. Bernard Gadd. Auckland, N.Z.: Macmillan, 1989: 20-23.
- Shelford writes of her childhood years growing up in a family of ten and then at the age of five being raised in the home of her great-aunt. After the death of her great-aunt, Shelford returned briefly to her parents before running away to Auckland where she found work in the fisheries.