Wi Kuki Kaa

Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Kahungunu

1938 - 2006

Wi Kaa was born in Rangitukia, Waiapu Valley, and was educated at Rangitukia Primary School and Te Aute College. For over forty years Kaa worked as an actor, writer, translator and scriptwriter and was involved in ten films and some twenty-five television productions, not to mention theatre productions. For fifteen years Kaa worked for the Australian film and television industry reportedly because of the ‘lack of roles for Māori’ in New Zealand. He eventually returned to New Zealand to star in Utu. He was a member of the core staff of the New Zealand Drama School and was a foundation member of Te Manu Aute, the Māori filmakers lobby group. Kaa had memberships in a number of film and drama groups. He was one of the founding members of Te Runanga o Ngāti Porou.

Kaa won numerous awards including best male performance in Ngati in 1988.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence from Wi Kuki Kaa, 22 Feb. 1998.
  • "Tributes flow for ‘charismatic’ actor." http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10369296
  • "Maori actor Wi Kuki Kaa dies." 20 Feb, 2006. http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/425828/662633
  • Huia Short Stories 1995. Wellington, N.Z.: Huia, 1995. 134.


  • "Te Ara Makutu or The Gunfight at Kehua Corral." Huia Short Stories 1995. Wellington, N.Z.: Huia, 1995. 51-62.
  • In this story the Karapa family grapple with the concept of ‘mate Māori’ and modern-day makutu when their son Rama mysteriously falls ill after breaking up with his pregnant girlfriend Katarina on account of his longstanding taumau with Erena. This story, originally written for television, was a finalist in the Huia Publishers’ Māori Writers short story competitions of 1995.


  • "Maori actor Wi Kuki Kaa dies." 20 Feb. 2006. http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/425828/662633 24 Oct. 2007.
  • Sharples, Pita and Tariana Turia. "Obituary: Wi Kuki Kaa – shining light of Maori Theatre." Press Release. 20 Feb. 2006. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0602/S00279.htm 24 Oct 2007.
  • "Tributes flow for ‘charismatic’ actor." New Zealand Herald 21 Feb. 2006. Rpt. in http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10369296 24 Oct. 2007.