Maureen Lander was born in Rawene in the Hokianga and has both Scottish and Ngapuhi ancestry. Lander graduated from Wellington Teachers Training College in 1963, attended Elam School of Fine Art graduating with a BFA in Photography in 1987. She gained her MFA (Hons) in 1993 and is a PhD candidate for a Doctoral degree in Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland.
Maureen worked as a part-time photographer in the Anthropology Department for seven years from 1986 and has developed her installation practice over time. At the same time Lander learned traditional cloak-making and weaving from renowned weaver Diggeress Te Kanawa. She has been an advisory member for numerous fibre exhibitions, including 'Te Aho Tapu (The Sacred Thread) at the Auckland Museum and was a part of the consultancy group for the exhibition 'Purangiahao: Seeing Clearly'. Using her photography training she photographed all the cloaks for the Museum's records and has demonstrated traditional weaving techniques to the public. Maureen has conducted research in Maori cloak-making, tukutuku, Maori feather adornment and Maori mokihi (rafts).