Taika Waititi

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Taika David Waititi
Born (1975-08-16) 16 August 1975 (age 39)
Wellington, New Zealand
Alma mater Victoria University of Wellington
Occupation Film director, screenwriter and comedian
Years active 1999 - present
Known for Eagle vs Shark, Boy, What We Do in the Shadows, Green Lantern, Flight of the Conchords, Two Cars, One Night

Taika Waititi (born 16 August 1975), also known as Taika Cohen, is a New Zealand film director, writer, painter, comedian and actor.

His 2010 film Boy did very well in New Zealand, eclipsing several records;[1][2] and was released internationally in 2012. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2004 short film Two Cars, One Night.


Waititi hails from the Raukokore area of the East Coast region of New Zealand.[3] His father is a Maori of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and his mother is Jewish.[4][5] Waititi has used his mother's surname of Cohen for some of his work in film and writing.[6] In May 2012, Waititi announced on his Twitter account that his wife had given birth to their first daughter, named Te Hinekāhu.[7]

Comedy work[edit]

While a drama student at Victoria University of Wellington Waititi was part of the five-member ensemble, So You're a Man, which toured New Zealand and Australia with some success.

He was one half of the comedy duo The Humourbeasts alongside Jemaine Clement – recipients of New Zealand's highest comedy accolade, the Billy T Award, in 1999.


In 1999, Waititi starred in the successful low-budget Dunedin film Scarfies.

His 2003 short film Two Cars, One Night earned him an Academy Award nomination. At the awards ceremony, he famously feigned falling asleep as the nominations were being read out.[3]

His first feature film, the 2007 romantic comedy Eagle vs Shark, was released in U.S. theatres for limited distribution in 2007. The film stars Waititi's then real-life partner, Loren Horsley, as Lily. The same year, he wrote and directed one episode of the TV show Flight of the Conchords and was director of another.

His second feature, Boy, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010.[8][9] and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.[10] On its release in New Zealand it received top reviews[11] and was successful at the box office, eclipsing several records.[12]

After the success of Boy, Waititi set out to take the film's signature track "Poi E" to number one for the second time on the New Zealand charts. Although his efforts did get the track to number one on iTunes and number three on the New Zealand charts, the task of reaching the prized spot was near impossible.[13]

In March 2010, it was announced that Waititi would portray Thomas Kalmaku in the live-action superhero film Green Lantern.[14] The film debuted on 17 June 2011.

In 2011, Taika's TV series Super City hit New Zealand television screens. It stars Madeleine Sami, who plays five characters living in the one city.[15]

In 2013, he co-directed the New Zealand-based Vampire-Comedy What We Do in the Shadows with friend and fellow comedian Jemaine Clement. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014.[16]


  1. ^ Churchouse, Nick (24 April 2010). "Home Boy hit helps keep local cameras rolling". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Boy Now Top Grossing NZ Film Of All Time". Voxy.co.nz. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  3. ^ a b "Taika Waititi". NZ On Screen.
  4. ^ Tom Hunt (2012-02-07). "Taika Waititi reveals childhood passions". The Dominion Post. 
  5. ^ Elizabeth- cawobeth (2012-03-03). "'Boy' movie review, trailer: A charming New Zealand family movie". newjerseynewsroom.com. Retrieved 2012-06-06. 
  6. ^ Nate Bloom (10 July 2007). "Interfaith Celebrities: Kyra Sedgwick, Baseball's Braun-y Interfaith Rookie and a Jewish Maori director". InterfaithFamily.com. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  7. ^ Twitter
  8. ^ "Release Dates for Boy". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  9. ^ RT Staff (2 December 2009). Rotten Tomatoes: Sundance Festival "2010 Sundance Film Festival Lineup Announced". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  10. ^ "Awards for Boy (2010)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  11. ^ Calder, Peter (25 March 2010). "Boy". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  12. ^ Mitchell, Wendy (21 May 2010). "Waititi's Boy sets new record for New Zealand film". Screen Daily (screendaily.com). Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  13. ^ "Interview with Taika Waititi". Marcus Lush. 22 March 2010. ZM. http://zmonline.com/WhosOn/MorningCrew/Highlights/Detail.aspx?id=15007. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  14. ^ Borys Kit (15 March 2010). "Two kiwi actors join "Green Lantern"". Reuters (Reuters.com). Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  15. ^ "Super City". TV3. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  16. ^ "Sundance debut for Kiwi vampire spoof". 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 

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