His father is of Maori descent, with a distant French-Canadian line. Taika's mother is of one quarter Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, from her own paternal grandfather, along with Irish, Scottish, and English.
The music video for The Phoenix Foundation's '40 years' was shot in Lyall Bay on Wellington's South Coast in one single shot using the BAXI bike to carry the camera.
In 'Eagle vs Shark', Taika plays Jarrod's dead brother Gordon.
His Dad was a painter and his Mum is a teacher.
He crafted his stage skills together with 'Flight of the Conchords' at Bats theatre in Wellington which is now owned by Sir Peter Jackson.
James Rolleston was cast two days before shooting 'BOY'.
Taika was inspired to write Two Cars, One Night while hanging out in a g-string, fully waxed for an acting role as a stripper in a TV show 'The Strip' in 2002.
Taika spent two years in Berlin working and exhibiting in the Schliemann 40 House.
Taika in Maori means 'Tiger'.
BOY is actually his first film. Taika started to write it following the success of the short film 'Two Cars One Night'. However, he wanted to make his debut film lighter so he chose to make a romantic comedy 'Eagle vs Shark'.
He went to Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2002 with Jemaine Clement as 'The Humourbeasts'. Jemaine performed there also with Bret McKenzie as 'Flight of the Conchords'. FOTC became popular and the rest is history.
When it comes to the original music for his films, he always collaborates with the Wellington band The Phoenix Foundation who have made the film scores for his three films: 'Eagle vs Shark', 'BOY' and 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' and Samuel Scott of The Phoenix Foundation was the music editor for 'What We Do in the Shadows'.
One of his inventions was a tie with a hole to button it to the shirt.
Taika uses false teeth quite often in his comedy performances: 'The Ordinary Alien' in Radiradirah, Gunter the German "joke" teller in his stand up, vampires in the original 'What We Do in the Shadows' short film, his many characters in 'Falling Leaves', a short film.
Working titles for BOY were 'Choice' and 'The Volcano'.
He met Jemaine Clement at Victoria University of Wellington, later forming the comedy duo, 'The Humourbeasts'.
He collaborated with the architectural firm Wraight & Associates on a proposal for Wellington City Council's Wellington Gateway project. He designed a sculpture 'Upoko O Te Ika A Maui'. Unfortunately, "plans for a 35-metre-high illuminated sculpture at the bottom of Ngauranga Gorge have been ditched because of fears for aircraft and of a massive budget blowout." Nevertheless, they won the 2010 New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Gold Award in Landscape Design Category - Visionary Landscapes.
Michael Jackson's nephew, Taj Jackson saw 'BOY' and "really enjoyed it", he "loved the MJ homages and references".
Earlier in his career he used 'Cohen' for his work as an actor and performer and 'Waititi' as a painter and artist. Now, to avoid confusion he goes by the surname 'Waititi'.
He made the music video for Age Pryor's 'Shank's Pony' and cover art for the album.
Cohen is his mother's surname, Waititi is his fathers family name.
One of his first TV appearances was playing a surfer in a Moro Bar commercial.
Rhys Darby's Murray Hewitt in FOTC's HBO show wasn't their first mock-manager. Taika was the original 'Flight of the Conchords' manager Larry Pritchard of Larry Pritchard Productions in the mock-report from the Conchords at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2002.
'What We Do in the Shadows' actors hadn't seen the script before and during the making of the film; they had only some directions from Jemaine and Taika and the script was largely improvised.
He's from the Maori tribe Te-Whaanau-a-Apanui (the family of Apanui), sub-tribe Te-Whaanau-a-Pararaki (the family of Pararaki).
In 2013, Taika used empty Nespresso capsules to make a two sided artwork showing the creation story of Wellington Harbour known in Maori as 'Tangi Te Keo'. It can be seen in Nespresso Boutique in Wellington.
Waihau Bay where 'BOY' was filmed is where Taika himself grew up as a child; Boy's home in the film is Taika's aunts' house.
He illustrated Jo Randerson's book of short stories 'The Keys to Hell'.
His portrait as Viago, the character from 'What We Do in the Shadows' painted by Freeman White is in the NZ Portrait Gallery in Wellington together with Jemaine Clement's character Vladislav's and Jonathan Brugh's as Deacon.
He wrote two and directed four episodes of 'Flight of the Conchords' HBO show; he's also has a cameo in the telephone commercial in the episode 'Drive By.'.
He wrote 'Eagle vs Shark' with his then girlfriend Loren Horsley/Taylor. Jemaine Clement admits it was difficult to film the kissing scene with Loren's boyfriend directing him.
Member of the 'Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' (AMPAS) since 2016.
Taika means magic in Finnish.
Directed 1 actress in an Oscar nominated performance: Scarlett Johansson, who was nominated for Jojo Rabbit (2019).
First Indigenous filmmaker to win an Oscar. He follows Buffy Sainte-Marie as the second Indigenous person to win a competitive Oscar.