KJ Apa

Apa in 2018, photo Credit: PRN / PRPhotos.com

Birth Name: Keneti James Fitzgerald Apa

Place of Birth: Auckland, New Zealand

Date of Birth: June 16, 1997

Ethnicity: Samoan, Scottish, English, Northern Irish

KJ Apa, also known as K. J. Apa, is a New Zealand actor. He plays Archie Andrews in the series Riverdale.

KJ is the son of Tessa Apa, a writer, and Tupa’i Keneti Apa. His sister, Timena Apa, is an actress and model. He has Samoan, Scottish, and English ancestry. His Samoan family is from Moata’a. His surname, Apa, may be related to the name of the capital of Samoa, Apia.

A picture of KJ with his father can be seen here.

KJ has said:

My dad’s father was a high chief … and the family agreed my dad would take over his chief title: Tupa’i… Later, we decided to get a tattoo to commemorate that… I’d love to get my whole body tatted up. I love Polynesian and Samoan designs… The original plan was that this would be the start of a sleeve tattoo, but I think I need to get big arms first…

His first cousin, once removed, is rugby union player and coach Michael Jones. KJ’s paternal great-grandparents Niko and Taaloga were also Michael’s maternal grandparents.

KJ’s paternal grandfather was Utumakaiona Tupa’i Se/Seapelima Apa (the son of Niko Vaimasenu’u Apa, and Taaloga Kaiona/Ta’aloga Apa). Niko was the son of Niko Vaimasenu’u Tamapua Apa, from Moata’a, Samoa and Meripa/Melipa Apa, from Sapapali’i, Samoa. Taaloga was the daughter of Tafeamaalii Taauta Kaiona and Nerisa/Nelisa Muliaumavae.

KJ’s great-uncle, Asi Falana’ipupu Vaimasenu’u Niko Apa, was Samoa’s first Consul General in Auckland, New Zealand. He was the brother of KJ’s paternal grandfather.

KJ’s paternal grandmother was named Jenny/Janet Fitzgerald (the daughter of Fergus Bill Smith and Tossy). Janet was born in Wellington.

KJ’s maternal grandfather is John Russell Callander, a judge (the son of George Walker Callander and Winifred Thyra Knight). George was the son of John Callander, whose father was from Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, and whose mother was from Dudley, Worcestershire, England; and of Flora Carmichael, whose parents were from Argyleshire, Scotland. Winifred was the daughter of William Edward Short Knight, from Southhampton, England, and of Eliza Caudwell, whose father was from Coddington, England, and whose mother was from County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

KJ’s maternal grandmother likely is named Sandra Paulina.

He has also said:

…[my father is Samoan]. I have a massive Samoan family. And the Samoan culture has always played a massive part of my life. I’ve got hundreds of family on my dad’s side that live in Samoa and in New Zealand. I’ve just been surrounded by the culture ever since I was a kid. I actually used to speak Samoan, but me and my sisters all kind of lost it. We go there at least once a year to see family. And my dad recently just got a traditional Samoan tattoo. He’s a chief in Samoa, so he got that tattoo to commemorate it.

Sources: https://nz.lifestyle.yahoo.com

Genealogy of KJ Apa – https://www.geni.com

Obituary of KJ’s paternal great-uncle, Asi Falana’ipupu Vaimasenu’u Niko Apa – https://www.rnz.co.nz

33 Responses

  1. comrade says:

    New info on his father’s side:

    K.J.’s paternal grandmother is Mainamaileafi (Maina) Apa. K.J.’s paternal step-grandfather is James Edwin Wearne. Maina was the daughter of Niko Apa and Taaloga Apa. Niko Apa was the son of Apa Niko Vaimasenu’u Tamapua. Apa was the son of Niko Vaimasenu’u Tamapua from Moata’a, Samoa and Meripa Apa who came from Sapapali’i, Samoa

    K.J.’s paternal grandfather is Derek Leonard Foster Jones. Derek was the son of Sidney Leonard Jones and Kathleen Dorothy Gibson. Sidney was the son of Leonard Llewelyn Jones and Sarah Foster from Mansfield, Nottingham, England. Leonard was the son of Thomas Jones from Montgomery, Powys, Wales and Maria Salter from Hook Norton, Oxfordshire, England.

    Kathleen Gibson was the daughter of Herbert Gibson and Isobel Evelyn Maud Hale. Herbert Gibson was the son of Robert Gibson from Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland and Margaret Petrie from Durris, Kincardineshire, Scotland.

    Isobel Hale was the daughter of Alfred Henry Hale and Emily Lawrence from Hertfordshire, England. Alfred’s parents might have been Edwin and Martha Hale from Bristol, England.

    Genealogy of his paternal grandmother Maina Apa: https://www.geni.com/people/Mainamaileafi-Wearne-Jones/6000000025361212040
    Genealogy of Emily Hale: https://www.geni.com/people/Emily-Hale/6000000034057204661

    (Disregard my comment about Ngāti Apa)

    • comrade says:

      *Taaloga Apa was the daughter of Tafeamaalii Taauta Kaiona and
      Nerisa Muliaumavae.

      • andrew says:

        if so:

        * Scottish, Welsh, English (paternal grandfather)
        * Samoan (paternal grandmother)
        * Scottish, English, Northern Irish (mother)

        more likely

        75% British Isles (Scottish as well etc..)
        25% Samoan


        • comrade says:

          Yep, except who don’t know his maternal grandmothers side.

          His maternal grandmother’s instagram name is Sandra Mahayni (Mahayni is arabic) but I’m not sure is Mahayni is her maiden name or a married name?

          Does she look arabic? https://www.instagram.com/sandra_mahayni/

          Maina Apa and Derek Jones might be Keneti Apa’s parents because KJ is mentioned as Michael Jones’ nephew. Michael Jones parents are certainly Maina Apa and Derek Jones.

          But perhaps Keneti Apa is Michael Jones’ cousin instead of brother? Or maybe a younger half-brother (they don’t share the same dad)?

          • comrade says:

            *we not who

            Michael Jones, the All Blacks legend for those who don’t know, also mentioned his brother was a pastor in an interview. I’m not sure if KJ’s dad is a pastor? Anyone know?

          • comrade says:

            Actually I think Tupa’i Keneti Apa’s father is Maina Apa’s brother, Asi Falana’ipupu Vaimasenu’u Niko Apa (1928-2009). Asi Niko Apa’s wife is Marcella (not sure if she is Samoan too).

            So the description should be:

            KJ’s paternal grandfather is Asi Falana’ipupu Vaimasenu’u Niko Apa (1928-2009).

            Asi Niko Apa was the son of Apa Niko Vaimasenu’u Tamapua (aka Niko Apa/Niko V. Apa, 1903-1943) and Taaloga Kaiona/Ta’aloga Apa.

            Apa Niko Vaimasenu’u Tamapua (1903-1943) was the son of Niko Vaimasenu’u Tamapua from Moata’a, Samoa and Meripa/Melipa Apa from Sapapali’i, Samoa.

            Taaloga Kaiona (1907-1966) was the daughter of Tafeamaalii Taauta Kaiona and Nerisa/Nelisa Muliaumavae.

            So it should be:
            * Samoan (paternal grandfather)
            * Scottish, English, Northern Irish (maternal grandfather)

            Source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/pacific/182248/samoa's-first-consul-general-in-auckland-dies

          • andrew says:

            Wow. Is he related to Michael Jones? Cool.

            However, in Pacific Islands they have very large families that the concept of “cousinship” is sometimes not by blood relation.

          • andrew says:


            I added some rugby legends like Dan Carter or Richie McCaw. If there’s something to add, it would be appreciated.

          • comrade says:

            “However, in Pacific Islands they have very large families that the concept of “cousinship” is sometimes not by blood relation.”

            I know but considering Michael Jones’ mum is an Apa and KJ’s dad is an Apa, I do think they’re related by blood.

    • bablah says:

      Maybe we should just leave it as:

      “KJ’s paternal great-grandpatents were Niko Apa and Taaloga”

      • comrade says:

        Yeah, I agree.

        I’m not entirely sure Asi Niko Apa is KJ’s granddad either. Asi Niko Apa’s wife was Marcella Strickland, she was born in 1948. KJ’s dad looks like he was born between 1960-1968. That would have made Marcella a young mum (not impossible).

        Maina’s other brother was Tupa’i Se Apa. I think it’s more likely that Tupa’i Se Apa is Tupa’i Keneti Apa’s dad. They share the same name/title (Tupa’i). Tupa’i Se Apa’s wife was Jenny Fitzgerald (KJ’s middlename is Fitzgerald).

        What do you guys think, are Tupa’i Se Apa and Jenny Fitzgerald KJ’s paternal grandparents?

  2. comrade says:

    John Russell Callander’s parents were George Walker Callander and Winifred Thyra Knight.

    George Callander’s parents were John Callander and Flora Carmichael.

    Flora Carmichael was the daughter of Malcolm Carmichael and Anne McLaclan both from Argyleshire, Scotland.

    John Callander’s parents were James Callander from Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland and Agnes Blair from Dudley, Worcestershire, England.

    Winifred Thyra Knight was the daughter of William Edward Short Knight from Southhampton, England and Eliza Caudwell.

    Eliza Caudwell was the daughter of Samuel Caudwell from Coddington, England and Annie Eliza Jones from County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

    Genealogy of Winifred Thyra Knight: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Knight-5915
    Genealogy of John Callander: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/tree/26722453/family?cfpid=26680273820

    I can’t find anything on K.J.’s dad.

  3. comrade says:

    His grandmothers name is Sandra Paulina, her maiden name is probably Fitzgerald.

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