Born in the village of Liku, Niue, John Pule moved to New Zealand with his family in 1964.
He began writing in 1980 after reading the works of New Zealand poets and has since published two novels: The Shark That Ate The Sun (1992), Burn My Head In Heaven (1998); and four books of poems: Sonnets to Van Gogh (1983), Flowers After The Sun (1984), The Bond of Time (1998), Tagata Kapakiloi (2004) and he co-wrote Hiapo: Past and present in Niuean barkcloth, a study of a traditional Niuean artform, with Australian writer and anthropologist Nicholas Thomas (2005).
He began painting in 1987 and exhibiting in 1989, participating in the first important exhibitions to showcase Pacific Island art - Te Moemoea No Iotefa (1990) and Bottled Ocean (1994). He participated at international art biennales in Johannesburg (1995), Kwangju (1995), Asia Pacific Triennial (1996 and 2002), Paradise Now! (2004), South Pacific Arts Festival (Western Samoa 1996, New Caledonia 2000, Palau 2004).
Other group exhibitions include the Future Tense: Security and Human Rights, Griffith University, Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, 2005; Te Moananui a Kiwa, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland 2005; News From Islands, Campbelltown Gallery, Sydney 2006; The 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; and Tribute, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland 2006; Turbulence: The Third Auckland Triennial, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, 2007 and Dateline: Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, Germany, 2008.
John Pule's many solo exhibitions are in essence narratives of history and place, as are his novels and poetry. All are extensions to a non-going project to record his family history into an Aotearoa and Pacific context, combining elements of poetry, prose, drawing,printmaking and painting to maintain his routes/roots to the Pacific.
Recent solo exhibitions include Niniko Lalolagi - Dazzling Worlds, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland (2004), John Pule, Galerie Römerapotheke, Zurich (2005), Another Green World, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland (2006). Recent paintings, Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne (2007) and Nothing Must Remain, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland (2009)
John Pule: Hauaga (Arrivals) a major survey show of John Pule's art was put together by the Wellington City Gallery in 2010, and is subsequently touring other New Zealand galleries.
John Pule has been artist-in-residence at the Cultural Museum, Rarotonga and has held the Romerapotheke Art Residency in Basel, Switzerland. He has been the Waikato University Writer-in-Residence and received the Auckland University Literary Fellowship. John received an Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2004 and in 2012 he was awarded an ONZM (Officer of the said Order) for services as an author, poet and painter in the Queen's Birthday Honours.