Ranginui Walker is from Whakatohea of Opotiki. He was educated at St Peter's Maori College, Auckland Teachers College and the University of Auckland. He recently retired as Professor of Maori Studies at the University of Auckland. He was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001.
Dr Walker was chairman of the Auckland District Maori Council for fifteen years and a member of the New Zealand Maori Council for twenty years. He has contributed many papers and articles on Maori education, culture and history, and has written three previous books: Nga Tau Tohetohe, Years of Anger; Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou, Struggle Without End; Nga Pepa a Ranginui, The Walker Papers, all published by Penguin Books.
Dr Walker is married to Deirdre and they have three children and nine grandchildren.