GEO | TURIA SCHMIDT PEKE
Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Hauā, Hāmoa
Turia opitimises the Ahikāroa kaupapa, a series that showcases the stories of kura kaupapa raised urban rangatahi. When asked ‘Where she learnt te reo Māori?’ Turia phrased a more suitable response, ‘Ko te pātai e tika ana, I ako ahau i taku reo Pākehā i hea? Ko te reo Māori kē taku reo tuatahi.” A graduate of Waikato University’s Bachelors of Communications and Bachelor of Arts studies, Turia has an extensive background in broadcast including an actress on Shortland Street. A powerful force on screen, Turia has already been recognised for her mahi taking out ‘NZ Web Fest’ award for ‘Best Actress’ in 2021. l want a friend like Geo!
HEMI | NEPIA TAKUIRA-MITA
Te Arawa, Hāmoa
Nepia is no stranger to the performance arts, this Rotorua local can be found at Māori performing villages in his hometown. His passion for kapa haka encouraged him to take a leap into the world of acting and we are glad he did. His talents have been recognised at the 2022 NZ Web Fest awards as a finalists for ‘Best Actor’. Impressing audiences on stage, and upsetting audiences on screen, we hate to love his Ahikāroa character Hemi.
KID | ANIWA WHAIAPU KOLOAMATANGI
Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, waihoki nō Waikato, Tainui
Before you jump to a guess that Aniwa is short for Aniwaniwa, take a lesson from Aniwa’s Nan, she knows Aniwa to be the name for the halo above an angel’s head, and we know Aniwa to embody this energy no less! Straight out of kura kaupapa and on to our screens Aniwa plays our beloved Kid. He’s gone on to be a presenter for NZ factual show, Queer and Here. A naturally gifted performer, Aniwa brought Kid to life and is a fan fave.
HAKI | WHITI TUMAI
Ngai Tūhoe, Tainui, Ngati awa me Ngati Tūwharetoa
Paetawhiti, meaning to ‘Arise like the Sun and shine out’ is humble about his classification of his title as an ‘actor’. A student of the craft, Whiti accredits his desire to act as being one that allows him to experience challenging scenarios, that in turn develop him as a person. Originally studying as an electrical engineer Whiti found himself auditioning for Ahikāroa on S2 and now following through into S5 we can’t wait to see what trouble he is in now.
TE URURANGI | AKINEHI MUNROE
You might recognise Aki from the theatre stage! Aki began her career reprising the role of ‘Annie’, and prior to Ahikāroa was working on a children’s theatre show ‘Tu Meke Tūi’. Aki has always been creative, active, and a touch dramatic, so pursuing acting as a career was a natural path for her. A naturally gifted actress she can also be seen on other dramas like Vegas and Kura. Aki brings Te Ururangi to life on screen and we’re all here for it.
BOOMS | JEWELS KING
Ngāti Ruanui, Ngaati Mahanga Hourua, Te Rarawa
Jewels studied a prep course at Unitec institute of technology in 2019 to gain acting experience before auditioning for South Seas Film School in 2020. She graduated from South Seas in 2021 and started working. Ahikāroa is her first acting job. Jewels strives to act on the quote "I am my ancestors dream" and represent Māori globally in the film industry.
KUINI | AWA PUNA
Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa, Tūhoe, Ngāpuhi
Awa Puna is an actor/filmmaker who has her eye on the pulse of work that speaks from heart. Awa has dedicated much of her career to projects that acknowledge and uplift Māori and takatāpui/LGBTQ+ communities and stories. She graduated her final year of Toi Whakaari in 2020. As well as her mahi on Ahikāroa, Awa has starred alongside Rena Owen and James Rolleston in ‘Whina’ and a role in the TV series, ‘Vegas’ and 'Shortland Street'. Awa was a finalist for a NZTV Award for her performance in Season 4 of Ahikāroa.
THOMAS | MAURI STOKES
Ngāti Porou, Te whānau ā Apanui, Tauranga Moana
Mauri Oho is no stranger to the small screen having already been in Shortland Street. He grew up in kura kaupapa, did some study at Penn State University and is a golf instructor. Where does he find the time!? With so much life experience already under his belt, he really lives up to his name which translates as ‘Awaken to life’. We can’t wait for Mauri Oho to show us what Thomas has in store this season.
TROY | RICHARD TE ARE
Ngāi Tuhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu Ki Heretaunga
Richard graduated in 2017 from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School. His credits include Te Rau Tauwhare on The Luminaries, Teina Pora in Michael Bennett's telefilm, In Dark Places, and Troy in season 5 of Ahikāroa. Feature Film credits include, The Other Side of Heaven 2, Danger Close and most recently Whina. Richard is also an accomplished theatre performer having played the sorcerer and chief protagonist Prospero in Robin Payne's production of The Tempest, Katie Wolfe's The Haka Party Incident, and Tama Nui Te Ra in Mahuika, directed by Whetu Silver.
MOEROA | MATAARA STOKES
Nga Puhi, Ngati Hine, Ngati Kopaki, Ngare Houata, Ngati Porou, Te whanau o Hine Rupe
Mataara Stokes began his creative journey at Elam school of fine arts in 2013. His first intro to film and TV was on season 1 of Ahikāroa behind the scenes and has since worked on films and tv shows in various roles such as The mountain (feature film) as co costume designer , Brolesque (short film) as an Actor, promo stills photographer for S1 & 2 of Head High (tv drama series) and many more. Mataara also voiced Simba in the Te Reo version of Disney's Lion King. A dreamer and storyteller who enjoys interweaving his many different art forms in to the works he produces.