Taika Waititi

LOS ANGELES - JUN 15: Taika Waititi at the premiere of Warner Br

Waititi in 2011, photo by Joe Seer/bigstockphoto.com

Birth Name: Taika David Waititi

Place of Birth: Wellington, New Zealand

Date of Birth: 16 August, 1975

*father – Māori, as well as distant British Isles, possibly 1/16th French-Canadian
*mother – Irish, English, Scottish, Northern Irish, one quarter Ashkenazi Jewish

Taika Waititi is a New Zealand film director, screenwriter, actor, and comedian. He has directed the films Eagle vs Shark, Boy (2010), What We Do in the Shadows (2014), which he co-directed; Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit, and Thor: Love and Thunder. He wrote the first, second, fourth, and fifth film, and co-wrote the third and seventh. He has appeared in all of his films, and as well as on the shows Our Flag Means Death and The Mandalorian, and in the film Green Lantern. He co-created the shows Wellington Paranormal and Reservation Dogs, and has directed episodes of the shows Flight of the Conchords, which he also wrote for, Super City, The Inbetweeners (U.S. version), and What We Do in the Shadows. He has also been billed as Taika Cohen.

Taika is the son of Robin (Cohen), a teacher, from Wellington, and Taika Waititi, a farmer and artist, from Waihau Bay. Taika’s father is Māori, and also of distant British Isles, and possibly 1/16th French-Canadian, ancestry. Taika’s mother has Irish, English, Scottish, Northern Irish, and one quarter Ashkenazi Jewish, ancestry.

Taika is married to British singer and songwriter Rita Ora. He has two children with his former wife, producer Chelsea Winstanley. Chelsea is of part Ngāti Ranginui and Ngai Te Rangi ancestry. Taika is a third cousin, once removed, of politician and activist Rawiri Waititi.

He has said:

My mother and her family’s story, still today, is fascinating to me, because they escaped the pogroms in Russia and then they ended up in England and eventually, somehow, through some mad turn of events, ended up in New Zealand, of all places. Even that story was a story of resilience and determination, so I basically come from two cultures [also referring to Māori] who share those traits.

He has also said (at 42:35):

My mum is white as they come. Her family is originally from Russia, Russian Jews, and mixed with a bit of Irish. And a bit of, sort of, whitey kind of things going on. And then, uhm, my dad’s side is Māori and a little bit of French Canadian.

Taika’s paternal grandfather was Eruiti Taika/Edward Waititi (the son of Kainga O Te Ware Waititi and Taupe Waititi). Kainga was the son of Hone Te Ware Waititi and Te Huingamate Pururangi. Taupe was the daughter of Paraone Heremia and Te Owai Wirepa. Te Owai Wirepa’s great-grandfather, Edward William Raper aka Wi Repa, was a white whaler.

Taika’s paternal grandmother was Matewa Delamere (the daughter of Hiki Manawa Delamere and Rongopouri Poihipi). Hiki was the son of Kohi/Neri/Ned/Edward Delamere and Ngarori Nikorima. Kohi’s father, Samuel/Sam Delamere, was a whaler who married Peti/Irihapeti Te Ha, a Māori woman. Samuel was white, and is often said to have been French-Canadian.

Taika’s maternal grandfather was David Cohen (the son of Henry/Harry Isaac Cohen and Norah/Nora Baker). Taika’s great-grandfather Henry came to Wellington on the Ruahine in 1913 from London, England. He was the son of Lewis Cohen, who worked as a tailor in Wellington, and of Rachel Annie. They were Jewish, from Novozybkov, Russia. Lewis’s family at one point lived in Edinburgh, Scotland. Taika’s great-grandmother Norah/Nora Baker was born in Christchurch, Christchurch City, Canterbury, New Zealand, and was the daughter Henry Baker and Honora Norah Butler, who were farmers. Henry was Irish, from Portlaw, Waterford. Taika’s great-great-grandmother Honora was born on Lyttleton, South Island, and was the daughter of David Butler and Mary Cull, who were Irish, with roots in County Limerick.

Taika’s maternal grandmother was Bertha Mary Bond (who likely was the daughter of Percy Randolph Bond and Winifred/Winnie Catherine Ruth Seal). Percy was the son of John Bond and Lavina Frelan/Freelan/Freland/Freeland, who had roots in Rathkeale, Limerick, Ireland. Winifred was the daughter of Thomas William Seal, who was born in Hampshire, England, and of Mary Stokes Wildey, who was born in Dunedin, Dunedin City, Otago, New Zealand. Taika’s great-great-grandmother Mary was the daughter of Benjamin Milton Wildey, who was born in the U.K., and of Catherine Wasen/Wason Munro, who had Scottish ancestry.

Sources: Mentions of Taika’s family background – http://www.npr.org

Genealogy of Taika Waititi – https://www.geni.com

Article about Taika’s paternal great-great-grandmother, Te Owai Wirepa’s, brother, Tutere Wi Repa – https://teara.govt.nz

Information about Taika’s paternal great-great-great-grandfather, Samuel/Sam Delamere – http://www.teara.govt.nz

21 Responses

  1. Dar says:

    Add Pacific Islander tag

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