When asked what his dream role as an actor would be, he said that he'd love to portray a member of the Maori Battalion from WWII. He also said he'd like to play Tonto on The Lone Ranger, "just to remind the Ranger that he's not alone."
Manu came to be an actor in a roundabout way. As a young man, the girl he was dating, a ballerina, asked him to join her studio because there were no men in the dance class, and they wanted to perform West Side Story. He let her talk him into it, and wound up enjoying himself. Dance/musicals eventually led to straight acting.
Manu is represented as an MC with the Talking Heads agency.
Manu's theatrical skills include mime, script writing and character voices.
Besides using his normal Kiwi accent, Manu can act using American Standard and English accents.
Manu enjoys many sports, including jet skiing, parachuting, roller blading, rugby, snowboarding, surfing, swimming, tennis, and water skiing.
Manu is a trained dancer in ballet, jazz, kapa haka, ceroc, and salsa styles.
Manu has followed in the footsteps of many Xena/Hercules alums by appearing in big Hollywood action films. In 2006 he played "Bennett" in the WWE Films release The Marine and in 2007 he played "Paco" in the WWE Films release The Condemned.
Manu's theatre credit is:
(1996) Lady Chatterley's Lover "Mellors"
Manu's songs are simply presented with voice and keyboard, covering a range of personal issues from multi culturalism to personal loss and global peace.
Manu was cast in a lead role in the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie The Smashing Machine, but the movie fell through when the script had to have some major rewriting, and Jean-Claude didn't approve of the changes.
In 2003, Manu competed in the Vision 100 FM Temple Acid Test battle of the bands, but did not place in the top three in spite of a very favorable reception from the crowd and judges.
One of Manu's uncles used to play piano for Elvis Presley. Another uncle was a Bishop in New Zealand. His mother, from Australia, was a beauty queen and a bikini model.
Manu was offered a ballet scholarship in New York after finishing high school, but chose to travel Europe and the US instead.
Manu was the host of the reality competition show Going Straight when there was a serious accident due to possible negligence to one of the contestants. The contestant was asked to walk through a wall of fire for a second time in order to get a better shot on camera. The man was burned over 12% of his body, but he won the episode's top prize of $10,000 (NZ).
In a charity boxing match to benefit the Menegitis Trust of New Zealand, Manu was pitted against world champion sheep shearer David Fagan. Manu won the fight easily, and helped to raise $833,000 (NZ) for the cause.
In 1996, Manu performed as Oliver Mellors in a theatrical version of Lady Chatterly's Lover. It was held in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia, and he and co-star Angela Kennedy had a love scene in which they performed in the nude.
Manu plays the piano, keyboards, and guitar, as well as writing and singing his own songs.
Manu auditioned for Tomb Raider 2, but didn't get the part because he had a broken wrist at the time.
In 2003 Manu was nominated in the "Sexiest Man" category of the "TV Guide Best on the Box" awards show, but he came in 5th out of a field of six candidates.
Manu is 5'11" tall (180 cm), with dark brown hair and brown eyes.
Manu: Manu is a New Zealand Maori name that means 'bird'. I was given this name after my uncle who was the Bishop Of New Zealand.