Tommy Kapai



Hi I’m Tommy Wilson but some of you will know me as the children’s author of the popular series of books about Kapai the kiwi and Cuzzies. I’ve always been a creator, some might even say a dreamer, but I think that’s a good thing. Without that personality trait I don’t think I would have had the courage to do half the things I have done.

My background is in Education and Tourism having worked and lived as an aide de comp (Butler) in 30 countries for many high profile clients including George Harrison, John Denver, Jimmy Barnes and Jimmy Buffett as well as a couple of Kings and Queens and two Royal Princes. Pretty cool for a lad from the Bay!

On my return to Aotearoa I took up the Chairmanship of The NZ Maori Tourism Board and then went on to publish many children’s books including Kapai the Kiwi, Cuzzies, and the World’s first QR Coded Kids books titled The A2Z of New Zealand.

The reason I am telling you all this is because I have met some incredible people from all around the world, all from different backgrounds and I can tell you one thing – all of us have been teenagers and all of us at some stage have asked those big life questions: Who am I? What am I good at doing? Who do I want to become?

We’re all on a journey of self-discovery and if we can help our youth and community reach their full potential we all benefit.

I came on as a member of the Te Tuinga Whanau Board in 2010 and in 2013 I spent my first year as Executive Director. The challenges we face here at Te Tuinga are no different to all other social services and the biggest being budget and trying to make the demand and the bottom line meet somewhere in the middle.

To do this we have had to think creatively and look for new business opportunities.

This has seen us take on everything from possum trapping to storytelling. Creative writing is such a powerful tool for self- expression and visualisation – precious gifts to give our youth.

We will continue to strive toward meeting the demands and dreams of those who walk through our front door and the more we approach this as a whānau based business, the more effective we will be to our clients.

It’s always been about family to me – my own family and the extended family of all the kids and families who walk through our door here at Te Tuinga Whānau. You guys are what makes us so passionate about what we do. I am married to my Pirirakau Princess Hera Tangitu and together we have 4 tamariki. I have tribal affiliations to Ngati Ranginui/Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Apakura with a splash of Ngati Wiwi (French) thrown in for good measure.

My personal strengths and specialities include: teaching creative writing skills for 20 years in over 100 schools throughout New Zealand, youth mentoring, visionary, resilience, maximiser, education, youth development – I like taking things from good to great!