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: 17 June, 1997

Ethnicity: Samoan (paternal grandfather), English, Scottish, Northern Irish, Irish

KJ Apa, also known as K. J. Apa, is a New Zealand actor, singer, and musician. He is known for starring as Archie Andrews on Riverdale; and for his roles in the films A Dog’s Purpose, The Hate U Give, The Last Summer, I Still Believe, as singer Jeremy Camp, Dead Reckoning, and Songbird, and on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street.

KJ is the son of Tessa Apa, a writer, and Tupa’i Keneti Apa. A picture of KJ with his father can be seen here. His sister, Timena Apa, is an actress and model. He has Samoan, English, Scottish/Northern Irish, and Irish ancestry. His Samoan family is from Moata’a, Samoa. He was awarded the matai title Savae chief of his village Moata’a in 2022, becoming known as Savae Keneti James Fitzgerald Apa, Moata’a. His surname, Apa, may be related to the name of the capital of Samoa, Apia.

KJ has a son with his former partner, French model Clara Berry. He is a practicing Christian.

KJ has 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.

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 Jenny/Janet Fitzgerald (the daughter of Harry Fergus “Bill” Smith and Amy “Tossy” FitzGerald). Janet was born in Wellington. Harry was the son of William Smith and Janet Parkhill Anderson, whose parents were from Hillhousefield, Leith, Scotland. Amy was born in Taumarunui, Manawatu-Wanganui, the daughter of Edward FitzGerald and Florence Spreat Sanderson, whose parents were English, her father from Devon and her mother from Catterick, North Yorkshire. KJ’s great-great-grandfather Edward’s father was James Edward FitzGerald, a New Zealand MP, and Minister of Native Affairs in 1965; whose parents were of Irish origin. KJ’s great-great-great-grandfather James was also the grandson of Richard Fitzgerald and Sir Lucius O’Brien, 3rd Baronet, who were MPs in the Irish House of Commons. KJ’s great-great-grandfather Edward’s mother was born in Odessa, Russia, now Ukraine, to English parents.

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 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…

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

Genealogy of KJ’s paternal great-great-grandmother, Janet Parkhill Anderson – https://www.geni.com

Baptismal record of KJ’s paternal great-great-great-grandmother, Fanny Erskine Draper, at Russia, Lutheran Church Book Duplicates, 1833-1885 – https://www.familysearch.org

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