Rawiri is of Ngati Raukawa (Ngati Hinerangi) descent and was formerly a resource teacher of Maori language in the Hawkes Bay before he completed his training as a medical practitioner at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland in 2000. That was actually his second attempt at Medical School having interrupted his studies to be an activist and protestor (Maori land, Maori language, Nuclear Free Independent Pacific and the 1981 Springbok Tour). His re-entry into medicine came after the brief primary school teaching career. He did provide clinical teaching, Te Reo and Tikanga Maori programmes for Maori health professionals throughout the country for several years. He is past Chairman of Te Ataarangi Trust (a national Maori language organisation), and past Chairperson of Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa (Maori Medical Practitioners Association). He published a phrase book of Maori medical terms released in February 2006.
Rawiri's main focus is now providing clinical leadership towards Maori health equity. He is currently a General Practitioner in Auckland and Clinical Director for the National Hauora Coalition (a Primary Healthcare Organisation).