Charles (Bunny) Tumai

Ngāti Hikairo, Taranaki, Ngāti Whātua

1944 -

Charles Tumai was born in Huntly and was educated at Rangiriri Primary School and Te Kauwhata High School. He spent twenty years in the New Zealand Army: he served in South Vietnam in 1966 and 1968, and was a Warrant Officer in the Royal Regiment of the New Zealand Artillery. In 1998 he attended the reunion of the Vietnam Veterans’ Association in Wellington when the veterans received official recognition as ambassadors of the New Zealand Government from After his service in the army, Tumai worked for the Tainui Trust Board for two years, Māori Affairs and Te Puni Kokiri for five years, and the Education and Training Support Agency (ETSA) for four years. He is currently working as Kai Arahi Reo at Finlayson Park School in Manurewa and is recovering from a heart operation. Tumai has written family whakapapa and history which remains unpublished, and has compiled internal reports and analysis for Te Puni Kokiri and ETSA. He is a member of Horahora Marae and Waahi Marae.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation with Bunny Tumai on 31 July, 1998.
  • Tumai, Charles. "Soldier Finds His ‘Māoritanga’." Tu Tangata 14 (1983): 50-52.


  • "Soldier Finds His ‘Māoritanga’." Tu Tangata 14 (1983): 50-52.
  • Tumai writes a detailed account of his experience as a student of the Level 3 Māori Language Course at the Wellington Polytechnic in June 1983.