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Cliff Curtis

With over 30 years experience in the film industry, Cliff Curtis has established himself as one of New Zealand’s most successful actors and producers. 

Curtis made his feature film debut in a small role in The Piano (1993), before exploring a wide range of genres in NZ films including Desperate Remedies, Jubilee and River Queen. But it was Once Were Warriors (1994), Whale Rider (2002)and The Dark Horse (2014) that bought him to a wider audience. 

Curtis gained early recognition in the US collaborating with directors David O. Russell, Martin Scorsese, and Michael Mann. Notable TV roles include series such as Gang Related, Body of Proof, Trauma, Missing, and Fear The Walking Dead. He recently starred in Hobbs and Shaw alongside Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, his Hobbs & Shaw co-star Jason Statham in the action film sequel The Meg 2. In 2022, Curtis appeared in Netflix’s True Spirit with Anna Paquin and in the NZ feature Muru. He also joined the ensemble cast of James Cameron’s Avatar sequels as Tonowari. Upcoming projects include roles in the Netflix series Kaos with Jeff Goldblum and the Apple TV series Chief of War starring Jason Momoa.
As a producer, Curtis formed Māori film production company Whenua Films in 2004 with cousin Ainsley Gardiner. The pair produced Taika Waititi’s WWII short film Tama Tu(2005), debut feature, geek comedy Eagle vs Shark (2007), and Boy (2010), the feature inspired by Waititi’s Oscar-nominated short Two Cars, One Night.
In 2013, Curtis established Arama Pictures, dedicated to indigenous storytelling, inspired by mentors Merata Mita, Don Selwyn & Barry Barclay. The company has executive produced notable works including feature The Dark Horse and the feature documentary Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen which premiered at Sundance (2018) with NZ ensemble film Muru following in 2022. In 2023, Arama executive produced season one of Swift Street in Melbourne which is set to premiere at CanneSeries in 2024, with a confirmed second season.
Curtis has worked steadily internationally, taking a pragmatic approach to his Hollywood career to strengthen his craft and enhance his passion for producing.