Cliff Curtis

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Curtis in 2010, photo by

Birth Name: Clifford Vivian Devon Curtis

Place of Birth: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Date of Birth: 27 July, 1968

Ethnicity: Māori, as well as English, Irish, Swedish, and French

Cliff Curtis is a Māori actor from New Zealand. Known for playing a diverse array of ethnic and national backgrounds, his roles include the films Once Were Warriors, Three Kings, The Insider, Training Day, Collateral Damage, Whale Rider, Runaway Jury, Live Free or Die Hard, Sunshine (2007), Colombiana, A Thousand Words, The Dark Horse, The Meg, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Doctor Sleep, Avatar: The Way of Water, and True Spirit, and the series Trauma, Body of Proof, Missing, and Fear the Walking Dead, among many other works.

He is affiliated with the Ngāti Pikiao and Te Arawa. Both of his parents are of Māori and European descent. His uncle was educator and Māori leader Sir Toby Curtis.

He is married and has three children.

Cliff’s paternal grandparents likely were Thomas Tame Pikikotuku Curtis and Makarena Anahera Tukuru/Tu Kuru. They were from Rotoiti, Rotorua.

Cliff’s maternal grandfather was Hector Kelvin O’Halloran (the son of Hector Joseph O’Halloran and Mary Ann “Merama” Lipsey). Hector was the son of Eugene Edward O’Halloran, whose parents were from Bandon, County Cork, Ireland, and of Hildagarde “Hilda” Ulrica Douglass, whose father was from Stockholm, Sweden and whose mother was from East Chinnock, Somerset, England. Cliff’s great-grandmother Mary Ann was the daughter of George Lipsey aka Ripihi, who came to New Zealand around 1870 from Tully North, Newtowngore, Leitrim, Ireland; and of Ema Te Mokena Morgan, daughter of Chief Te Mokena Hou.

Cliff’s maternal grandmother was Teau “Daisy” Potaka (the daughter of Pape Epiha Potaka and Te Whakahi Rangihoapu). Pape Epiha was the son of Utiku Potaka, whose father was Chief Tapui Arapeta Pehitane Potaka, from Rata, Wanganui-Manawatu, New Zealand; and of Rora Te Oiroa Goff, whose father was from Finistere, Brittany, France, and whose mother was Māori.

Sources: Article about Cliff’s mother –

Genealogy of Cliff’s mother (focusing on her mother’s side) –

16 Responses

  1. comrade says:

    Cliff’s paternal grandparents were likely Thomas Tame Pikikotuku Curtis and Makarena Anahera Tukuru/Tu Kuru both from Rotoiti, Rotorua, NZ

    Thomas Curtis was the son of Richard Curtis Rowe/Richard Rowe Curtis, who came from England and Puhiawe Pihoihoi Katene (the daughter of Te Katene and Ngāki Te Pikikotuku).

    Genealogy of Thomas’ brother Ropata:

    Article where Cliff’s uncle talks about his grandfather, Richard Curtis:

    Genealogy of Puhiawe Katene:

    Cliff’s father is Māori and one quarter English through Richard Curtis.

    So his ethnicity should be something like:
    Mother: Māori, as well as Irish, English, Swedish, and French
    Father: Māori, English [one quarter]

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