Mita was born in the small town of Maketu in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand's North Island. She was the third eldest of nine children and had a traditional rural Māori upbringing. She taught at the Kawerau College for eight years followed by a lengthy career in the film and television industry. She was appointed Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year Honours 2010, for services to the film industry.
Mita is the first woman in New Zealand to write and direct a dramatic feature film, Mauri (1988). An accomplished documentary director and producer for more than 25-years, Mita made landmark documentary films such as Patu! (film) (1983) about the violent clashes between anti-apartheid protesters and the police during the controversial 1981 South African Springboks rugby tours in New Zealand. and 'Bastion Point:Day 507' (1980) about the eviction of the Ngati Whatua Māori people from their traditional land. 'Hotere' (2001) documented the life and work of well-known Māori artist Ralph Hotere. She also directed the music video 'Waka' for hip hop artist Che Fu.
Mita played the role of 'Matu' in the New Zealand feature film Utu directed by Geoff Murphy, starring Anzac Wallace and featuring veteran Māori actor Wi Kuki Kaa. She also acted in the television adaptation of 'The Protesters' written by Rowley Habib.
In 1998, Mita herself became the subject of a documentary in the television series 'Rangatira:Merata Mita - Making Waves,' directed by Hinewehi Mohi.
"A documentary about pioneering Māori filmmaker Merata Mita whose career has spanned 20 years and whose films represent a unique account of New Zealand social and political history." New Zealand Listener
Mita has directed or collaborated on numerous films including;