Pinau was born on Thursday Island and raised on Murray Island in the Torres Straits where dance played an important part of his life. He joined the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association
(NAISDA) in 1984 and graduated from the five year course in 1988. Pinau was selected to do a brief traineeship with the Queensland Ballet Company in 1988 as part of his course, performing in Expo '88 Brisbane and the Adelaide Festival. Pinau returned to Sydney mid '88 to take up an apprenticeship with the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre (A.I.D.T) and travelled with them to Germany & Finland. In 1991 he joined Bangarra Dance Theatre, toured with the company to Indonesia and appeared in the production "Up Until Now" and Ochres (1994).
In Bangarra' s production Praying Mantis Dreaming he took a leading role, playing several parts, and toured nationally with the company. Pinau also toured with Bangarra to China and Hong Kong in 1992 and to the USA and London in 1993. Pinau's film and TY credits include the ABC TY series Seven Deadly Sins - Pride Choreographers' Series and the feature film Bedevil directed by Tracey Moffatt. Pinau participated in the opening of the 1994 Adelaide Festival.
Pinau has had a long standing relationship with Bangarra and has been a cultural consultant for traditional Torres Strait Island songs and dances for numerous Bangarra productions over the years including I.B.I.S (2015) and Fire - A Retrospective (2009).