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 (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 I Still Believe, as singer Jeremy Camp, The Hate U Give, The Last Summer, and Songbird.

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, English, Scottish/Northern Irish, and Irish ancestry. His Samoan family is from Moata’a. His surname, Apa, may be related to the name of the capital of Samoa, Apia. KJ has a son with his partner, French model Clara Berry.

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 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 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

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

Genealogy of KJ’s paternal great-grandmother, Amy “Tossy” FitzGerald – 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

38 Responses

  1. comrade says:

    Jenny/Janet’s parents were most likely Harry Fergus (Bill) Smith and Amy (Tossy) Moore.

    Not entirely sure but most likely as they married in 1939 and lived in Wellington and Jenny/Janet (the eldest) was born in 1940 in Wellington according to KJ’s dad’s ancestry tree. Also Jenny’s grandmother’s name is also Janet. So it seems likely. Fitzgerald is Jenny/Janet’s (unusual) middle name instead of her married name before Apa. That means she was likely born Janet Fitzgerald (Jenny) Smith. Jenny’s grandmother Janet Parkhill Anderson also has an unconventional middle name.

    Harry Fergus (Bill) Smith was the son of William Smith (from either Dunedin, NZ or Scotland) and Janet Parkhill Anderson (daughter of Robert Anderson and Janet Parkhill both from Hillhousefield, Leith, Scotland)

    Genealogy of Janet Parkhill Anderson: https://www.geni.com/people/Janet-Anderson/6000000006794066076?through=6000000006793961119
    Harry Fergus (Bill) Smith and Amy (Tossy) Moore on the 1938 NZ Census: https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=1836&h=14634670&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=WIx3484&_phstart=successSource

    • comrade says:

      Harry Fergus Smith and Amy Moore nee FitzGerald are without doubt Jenny/Janet Fitzgerald Smith’s parents.

      Amy (Tossy) Moore married a John Moore in 1933. Amy’s maiden name was FitzGerald. That’s where the Fitzgerald comes from. KJ’s middle name, Janet’s middle name and Amy’s surname.

      Amy was the daughter of Edward FitzGerald and Florence Spreat Sanderson.

      Edward was the son of James Edward FitzGerald, New Zealand MP, born in Bath, England (to Irish parents Gerald FitzGerald, Esq. and Catherine O’brien) and Frances (Fanny) Erskine Draper, who was born in Odessa, Russia (now Ukraine) to english parents George Draper, a wealthy merchant from London, and Mary Booker.

      Florence was the daughter of William Walter James Spreat from Devon, England and Jane Sanderson from Catterick, North Yorkshire, England.

      Genealogy of Edward FitzGerald: https://www.geni.com/people/Edward-FitzGerald/6000000076262382841?through=6000000014837796619
      Wikipedia page of James Edward FitzGerald, MP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_FitzGerald_(New_Zealand_politician)

    • comrade says:

      Frances (Fanny) Erskine Draper’s baptism in Odessa: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVRK-R11Z

    • comrade says:

      More info: Mahayni is indeed Sandra’s married name. Not sure as to her maiden name but there’s a Sandra P. De Boer that emigrated to New Zealand around 1960. There are no Sandra Paulina’s on the NZ census prior to 1969.

      Sandra P. De Boer has a relative named Paulina (may be her mother?). There is no Sandra P. De Boer on the 1969 census but there is a Sandra Paulina Callander on the 1969 census. Could it be that Sandra emigrated then married John Russell Callander sometime before 1969?

      I’m not sure if Sandra P. De Boer is the same person but it could be.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. comrade says:

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

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