Born in the King Country, and of Ngati Mahuta/Ngati Waiora (Tainui) descent, Dr Farah Rangikoepa Palmer attended the University of Otago, where she gained a BPhEd (Hons) in 1994 and a PhD in sociology of sport in 2000.
Dr Palmer started playing rugby at Otago, and by 1995 was a member of the Black Ferns team. In 1997 she was made captain of the team, and her outstanding career has seen her lead the Black Ferns to victory in the Canada Cup, and two World Cup victories in 1998 and 2002. She was Mäori Sportsperson of the Year in 1998, IRB International Women's Personality of the Year in 2005, and a member of the IRB Women's Advisory Committee in 2004-05.
In addition to these outstanding achievements, Dr Palmer was a member of the Taskforce on New Zealand Sport in 2000, is a member of the New Zealand Sports Disputes Tribunal, a member of Nga Pae o te Maramatanga (Centre of Research Excellence - Mäori) and Te Mata o te Tau (Academy of Mäori Research and Scholarship). She lectures in sport management and coaching and is part of Te Au Rangahau (Mäori Business Research Centre) at Massey University.