Te Wakaunua Te Kurapa

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Te Wakaunua Te Kurapa was born in Rotorua and raised in Ruatāhuna, growing up under the wings of his elders in the heart of Tūhoe. He took on odd jobs following school working as a radio host and teacher aide at a Kura Kaupapa Māori, before graduating with a Bachelor of Environmental Planning from the University of Waikato. Despite his academic success, he has always considered himself an active outdoorsman, his strong stature lending itself well to his hobbies of hunting, playing rugby and going to the gym.

Despite his warm and charismatic nature, and a hidden singing prowess, he never thought he’d be in front of the camera, feeling he was more suited to being in the great outdoors than on the big screen. When he got the call out of the blue to recreate just one of the many brave exploits of his tipuna (ancestor) Te Whenuanui, he knew it was something he had to do. Te Wakaunua’s humble demeanour and quiet confidence belies his strength as a leader, a quality that was widely recorded to be held by his tipuna six generations before him. Te Wakaunua portrayed Te Whenuanui in the widely acclaimed anthology We Are Still Here and now produced a repeat performance in the feature film Ka Whawhai Tonu - Struggle Without End (2024).

By day, Te Wakaunua has turned his passion for being in the bush and caring for the environment into a career, managing projects to protect the freshwater in the Bay of Plenty from invasive species. When he’s not moonlighting as an actor, working out, or protecting Aotearoa’s ecosystem, you will find Te Wakaunua spending time with his family. He and his partner Taima have one son, Te Umuariki, and another on the way.

Everything Te Wakaunua does is guided by the lessons he learnt from the old people back home, and through them the exploits and lessons from Te Whenuanui are passed on: “Experiencing the bravery of Te Whenuanui and the difficult choices he had to make for himself and his people in the filming process, is something that can’t be achieved through reading or listening to stories alone. Becoming Te Whenuanui, I realised his courage and conviction is part of my history and qualities to embody and pass on to the next generation.” - courtesy, Press Kit, Ka Whawhai Tonu - Struggle Without End.

Te Wakaunua Te Kurapa

Artist Resume

Feature Film



Te Whenuanui

Ka Whawhai Tonu - Struggle Without End

Akeake Ltd

Dir. Mike Jonathan


Te Whenuanui

We Are Still Here

Marama Productions, No Coincidence Media, Screen Territory

Dir. Various