As with any community in the world, even the Maori count among their ranks some established artists and well-known personalities. In particular, entertainers of Maori descent have been making waves in their respective business for years now. You may be surprised to learn that some of your favourite, prominent comedians or musicians have a glorious past in their DNA!

  • Kiri Te Kanawa: the soprano with the voice of an angel was adopted by a Maori family but she herself is part Maori. Without a doubt, she’s the most famous Newzealander alive!
  • Jemaine Clement: the musician and actor, who’s gotten his worldwide notoriety thanks to the TV series “Flight of the Concords”, is also part Maori and grew up in the Wairarapa region.
  • Billy T. James: this very sorely missed entertainer (he passed away in 1991) was integral in developing the current comedy scene of New Zealand – thanks in part to his visibility through the Billy T. James show. His full name was William James Te Wehi Taitoko.
  • Keisha Castle-Hughes: an Australian-born actress with a Maori mother, she features in the hit-series Game of Thrones as Obara Sand.
  • Cliff Curtis: among the most famous Maori people, this actor has an unforgettable face and stars in Fear the Walking Dead on U.S.’ AMC.
  • Temuera Morrison: a favourite among sci-fi enthusiasts, he played both Boba Fett and his son Jango Fett in the Star Wars saga.
  • Hone Tuwhare: one of New Zealand’s most famous poets, he passed in 2008 leaving a great void in the literature scene (but we have his 14 anthologies to hang on to!).
  • Ä€pirana Turupa Ngata: universally recognised as the most prominent Maori politician, he was integral in the promotion of his community’s language and traditions. A lawyer and an author, his image features on the NZ $50 bill.