Rima Te Wiata

Heather Rima Te Wiata MNZM (born 1963) is a New Zealand singer, comedian and stage, film and television actress.[1][2] She is of the Ngāti Raukawa tribe.[3]

Early life

Te Wiata was born in London, the only child of opera singer Inia Te Wiata and actress Beryl Te Wiata.[4] Her father died when she was 8 years old, and she and her mother returned to New Zealand two years later.[1] They settled in Auckland, where Te Wiata attended Epsom Girls' Grammar School.[3]


Te Wiata first appeared on stage in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at Auckland's Mercury Theatre, and later attended the New Zealand Drama School.[5] After graduating, she went on a six month national tour, singing in Footrot Flats.[1]

She made her screen debut in 1986 on the long-running Australian soap Sons and Daughters, playing the role of Janice Reid for two years. On her return to New Zealand she appeared in a number of television series including Shortland Street, the police drama Shark in the Park, comedies The Billy T James Show and Porters, and sketch shows Laughinz, Issues and More Issues.[1][6] Her roles in these sketch shows were written by David McPhail, Jon Gadsby and A. K. Grant and included impersonations of politician and future Prime Minister Helen Clark and newsreader Judy Bailey. The show won her the Viewers' Choice Most Popular Female on TV Award for two consecutive years, before she resigned in 1992.[1]

Te Wiata next spent two years working on the Australian sketch comedy show Full Frontal and also began appearing in films, including Send a Gorilla (1988), Cops and Robbers (1993), Hinekaro Goes on a Picnic and Blows Up another Obelisk (1995) and Via Satellite (1998).

Te Wiata's stage appearances have included starring roles as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, the voice of the cannibalistic singing plant in Little Shop of Horrors and directing and acting in The Vagina Monologues in Dunedin.

In 2014 she appeared in horror comedy Housebound and in 2016 in Hunt for the Wilderpeople.[1]

In 2017, Te Wiata starred in season two of the podcast Within the Wires portraying artist and historian Roimata Mangakāhia.[7]

Te Wiata has also released a self-titled jazz album, and toured with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.[1]


In 2016, Te Wiata won the New Zealand Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Hunt for the Wilderpeople.[8] In the 2017 New Year Honours, she was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to film and television.[1]

In October 2019 she was presented with a Scroll of Honour from the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand for her contribution to New Zealand entertainment.


  1. "Rima Te Wiata | NZ On Screen". www.nzonscreen.com. NZ On Screen. Retrieved 14 April 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "Te Wiata, Inia Morehu Tauhia Watene Iarahi Waihurihia". teara.govt.nz. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  3. "Rima Te Wiata". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  4. "Rima Te Wiata and her beloved Kiwi characters". Stuff. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  5. "Rima Te Wiata". The Court Theatre. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  6. "ScreenTalk: Rima Te Wiata". The Big Idea. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  7. "Within the Wires - Night Vale Presents". Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  8. "Rima Te Wiata". Auckland Actors. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
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