Keisha Castle-Hughes

02/21/2009 – Keisha Castle Hughes – 2009 Film Independent Spirit Awards – Arrivals – Santa Monica Beach – Santa Monica, CA. USA – Keywords: Keisha Castle Hughes – False – – Photo Credit: Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos – Contact (1-866-551-7827)

Birth Name: Keisha Maree Castle-Hughes

Place of Birth: Donnybrook, Western Australia, Australia

Date of Birth: 24 March, 1990

Ethnicity: English, Māori, distant Scottish

Keisha Castle-Hughes is an Australian-born New Zealand actress. She is known for playing Paikea “Pai” Apirana in the 2002 film Whale Rider, as well as for her roles in Piece of My Heart, The Nativity Story, Game of Thrones, and FBI.

Keisha was born in Donnybrook, Australia, and moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 1991. She has received New Zealand citizenship. She is the daughter of Desrae Hughes and Tim Castle. Her father, an Australian, has English ancestry. Her mother is Māori, and is also of part English descent. Keisha is married to Donny Grahamer. She has a daughter with her former partner Bradley Hull; and a daughter with Danny.

Keisha is the first millennial to have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress (for Whale Rider, 2002, nominated for 2003’s movie year). She is also the first person of any gender born in the 1990s to have been nominated for an Academy Award for acting.

Keisha’s maternal grandfather is Kevin Thomas Hughes (the son of Thomas “Tom” Taihoa Ahuriri Hughes and Kathleen Mary “Kay” Neil). Thomas was the son of Etera Saddler Ahuriri, who was Māori, and who likely also had a Scottish great-grandfather; and of Irene Hughes, who likely was of English parentage. Etera was a nephew of Heni Materoa Carroll, leader of the Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki.

Keisha’s maternal grandmother is named Grace. Grace’s grandfather was Te Watihana “Wati” Hemi Ngapo James, who was of Ngāpuhi. Grace’s grandmother likely is Te Whanau Pani Grace Brown, who is of mostly Māori descent, of Ngāti Te Ata and Ngāti Raukawa.

Sources: Genealogy of Keisha Castle-Hughes (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Obituary of Keisha’s maternal great-grandfather, Thomas “Tom” Taihoa Ahuriri Hughes –

Article about Keisha’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Etera Saddler Ahuriri –

Military record of Keisha’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Etera Saddler Ahuriri-


Curious about ethnicity

21 Responses

  1. comrade says:

    It’s likely Grace’s grandmother was Te Whanau Pani Grace Flavell (nee Brown)
    Here she talks about her family:

    Grace’s grandfather was Te Watihana (Wati) Hemi Ngapo James.
    Wati was the son of Hemi Ngapo and Meri Te Wetini.

    Pani Brown was the daughter of William/Wiremu Koikoi Howe and Ngapera Bella Brown.
    William was the son of George Kiwi Terry (Hori) Howe and Maraea Isabella Cassidy.
    Hori was the son of Hone Kaora Howe/Kiwi (son of George Terry Howe and Tawariki Kiwi) and Tamar Cowell (daughter of John Vittoria Cowell from Brompton, England and Keke Tumohe)

    George Terry Howe was the son of George Howe (an Australian convict who was born on Nevis in the West Indies to Captain Thomas Howe from Nottingham, England and Ann Risdon) and of Elizabeth Easton Hastings (also a convict) from Kent, England.

    Maraea Cassidy was the daughter of Mapi (Murphy) Cassidy and Ihapera Moku Mahima.
    Murphy was the son of Thomas Edward Cassidy from Meath, Ireland and Maraea Te Kuri o te Wao Paehangi.

    Ngapera Brown was the daughter of Robert/Ropata Brown and Te Ra Horiana. Robert was the son of Hauauru Robert Brown and Ngataua Aupai. Hauauru was the son of Robert Brown and Rangiawhina.

    • comrade says:

      Te Whanau Pani was Grace’s grandmother (not Grace herself). Grace was likely named after Te Whanau Pani Brown.

      Grace’s father is one of Te Whanau Pani’s sons.

      They all had children very young. Keisha’s mother Desrae had Keisha at 20, Desrae’s mother Grace also likely had Desrae at 20. Grace’s father also likely had Grace at 20 and Te Whanau Pani had Grace’s father also at 20. Te Whanau Pani is of Ngāti Te Ata and Ngāti Raukawa. In the interview 100 year old Te Whanau Pani explains that she’s also distantly of various sub-tribes of Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato Tainui and Ngāpuhi. Te Watihana James was of Ngāpuhi.

  2. andrew says:

    Her grandfather or great-grandfather may be Thomas “Tom” Taihoa Ahuriri Hugues. Someone with a Pressreader account could check it.

  3. Pegzi says:

    She’s cute. She was in Star Wars.

  4. Rabco says:

    The Castle surname originated from Kassel, Germany. So she is also of some amount German descent.

  5. priscilla says:


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