Merimeri Penfold (Ngāti Kurī) was a former lecturer in Māori language at Auckland University.
She was a member of the Māori Education Foundation, the University of Auckland Marae Establishment Committee and an executive member of the Broadcasting Commission from 1989 to 1991. Dr Penfold was also a co-member of the editorial team that worked on the seventh edition of Williams' Dictionary of the Māori Language. She was also a former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission. She was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori in 2001.
Merimeri’s work as a champion of Te Reo Māori was celebrated in the 2009 film He Wawata Whaea – The Dream of an Elder.
Ngā Tau Rere: An Anthology of Ancient Māori Poetry, chosen by David Simmons and Merimeri Penfold (Reed, 2003)
Ngā Waiata Aroha a Hekepia: Love Sonnets by Shakespeare: Nine Sonnets, translated into Māori by Merimeri Penfold (Holloway Press, University of Auckland, 2001)
The Book of New Zealand Women: Ko Kui ma te Kaupapa, edited with Charlotte Macdonald and Bridget Williams (Bridget Williams Books, 1991)
Women and the Arts in New Zealand: Forty Works, 1936–86, chosen and introduced by Elizabeth Eastmond and Merimeri Penfold (Penguin, 1986)