Rawiri is a New Zealand Māori with some Irish and English heritage mixed in. He was born in his tribal homeland of Hokianga in the Far North of Āotearoa, New Zealand before moving to Otara, in South Auckland.
After seeing ‘Hamlet’ whilst at Secondary School, Rawiri decided to become an actor and writer. He is a Trustee on the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium, a body of scientists working throughout the Pacific and a trustee of Te Paepae Ataata, which funds the development of Māori cinema. In 2003 Rawiri gained an international profile through playing a lead role in the iconic NZ feature film, ‘Whale Rider’ which won more than 40 International Awards and was nominated for an Oscar.
Rawiri began working with The Globe when he joined the International Artists Fellowship. Since then he has performed there in ‘Romeo & Juliet’ & ‘Helen’ (2009) and King Lear (2013). In 2012 his company, Ngākau Toa, brought a production of ‘Troilus & Cressida’, which was performed in the Māori language, to open the Globe to Globe Festival.