Born in 1973, Tamati trained at Te Rakau Hua o te Wao Tapu; later he attended Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School, graduating in 1994. Tamati is of Maori descent and speaks the language fluently. He has appeared in a number of feature films including the acclaimed movie…more
Tamati's favorite movie is Bamboozled, which was made by one of his favorite directors, Spike Lee. His favorite TV programs are Mercy Peak and any Maori program, because he appreciates them as giving the Maori viewpoint on daily life. His favorite types of music are hip-hop, Reggae, and R&B.
In 2003, Tamati was the recipient of a "Social Entrepreneur Grant" given by the Community Employment Group. His grant was to allow him to attend training forums in Management & Leadership so that he could develop and manage an arts center in Glen Innes, Auckland.
Tamati wanted to be a pilot when he was younger, but didn't care for math, so he decided he wanted to have a career in the arts.
Tamati's motto for life is, "Nau te Rourou naku te Rourou, kia ora ai te iwi", which translates as "With your food basket and my food basket we can feed the people."
Tamati's ideal day is to spend time at the beach with friends and family surfing.
In 2002, Tamati won the "Best Actor" award for his role in the TV movie Staunch.
Tamati's skills include most forms of dance, including African, horseback riding, and fencing.
In 1997, Tamati took part in a program that taught acting classes to men in prison.
Tamati is 5'10" (178 cm) with brown hair and hazel eyes.
His name is the Maori form of Thomas.
Tamati: The spirit is always our first connection. From the outset we work at an equal level. All that they bring and want to happen, we try to instill within the process. This takes a lot of trust. Everyone is part of the circle. We are all responsible for the spirit in that circle. If conflicts come up, we deal with it together.
Tamati: (on his work for Global Youth Education program) It's about connections. By sharing our aspirations and our dreams we are able to find the basic human threads that bind us. With young people we use art to tap into their visions and aspirations.
Tamati: (on why he enjoys teaching young people) I reckon young people work from a deeper place. Although adults know details and pedantics, they're not really as willing to walk their own talk, whereas young people are more able to instill their discoveries into their lives.
Tamati: (when asked what three things he would change in the world)
That there is no such thing as waste. No wasted moments, no wasted people and no wasted time. Secondly, for every one thing we take, we would give it back two times over. Lastly that there be no such thing as bad surf. Everyday would be a good surf day.
Tamati: (when asked why he likes to work with young people) I think I have an affinity and connection with young people. Young people are 'potent'; their dreams are still close to the surface. They're passionate and vital and I enjoy being around that kind of energy. It is also the protective nature in me. There is some hardcore stuff that young people don't really need to go through and I want to help them through those things.