Raised in the Tairāwhiti, Wayne resides in Ūawa (Tolaga Bay), and with others in the community, is an advocate for what Ūawa offers itself, the region, the country and the world. He is an active supporter of education towards constructive and productive citizenship, particularly in te reo Māori. His particular area of scholarship is Māori literature, specifically the language of mōteatea (traditional chant). He is a long time supporter of the renaissance in local Māori art as a platform for tribal intellectual, social and economic development, and with other members of Te Aitanga a Hauiti, have developed strong working and research relationships with regional, national and international institutions. He is a teacher, and helped establish Māori Studies at the Tairāwhiti Polytechnic (now EIT Tairāwhiti) in the last two decades. He has been a member of the Board of the Māori Language Commission and currently works in a managerial role for the Ministry of Education with a focus on te reo Māori in schools.
He is Principal Investigator on the NPM project: Te Ataakura: Re-connecting voyage collections in archives and museums through the creation of digital taonga.