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Northland Region, New Zealand

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Cliff Curtis


Clifford Vivian Devon Curtis (born 27 July 1968) is a New Zealand actor. His film credits include Once Were Warriors (1994), Three Kings (1999), Training Day (2001), Whale Rider (2002), Collateral Damage (2002), Sunshine, Live Free or Die Hard (both 2007), The Dark Horse (2014), for which he won the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actor, Doctor Sleep (2019), and Avatar: The Way of Water (2022). 


Curtis had television series roles on NBC's Trauma and ABC's Body of Proof and Missing. From 2015 to 2017, he portrayed Travis Manawa on the AMC horror drama series Fear the Walking Dead.

He is the co-owner of the independent New Zealand production company Whenua Films.


Curtis was born on 27 July 1968 in Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty Region. He is one of eight children, the son of an amateur dancer. Curtis is of Māori descent; his tribal affiliations are Te Arawa and Ngāti Hauiti


As a boy, he studied mau rākau, a traditional Māori form of taiaha fighting, with Māori elder Mita Mohi on Mokoia Island,  which nurtured his abilities as a performer in kapa haka. Curtis later performed as a breakdancer and competitively in rock 'n' roll dance competitions. He received his secondary education at Edmund Rice College, Rotorua. Curtis graduated from Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School in 1989 with a Diploma in Acting.



Curtis started acting in amateur productions of musicals Fiddler on the Roof and Man of La Mancha with the Kapiti Players and the Mantis Cooperative Theatre Company, before attending the New Zealand Drama School and Teatro Dimitri Scoula in Switzerland


He worked at a number of New Zealand theatre companies, including Downstage, Mercury Theatre, Bats Theatre, and Centre Point. His stage roles include Happy End, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, The Cherry Orchard, Porgy and Bess, Weeds, Macbeth, Serious Money, and The End of the Golden Weather.


He was married in late 2009[20] in a private ceremony at his home and has four children. He is Roman Catholic.

When asked about being an "all-purpose ethnic" actor, he said, "It's been a real advantage, I love being ethnic, I love the color of my skin. There are limitations in the business, that's a reality, but I've been given such wonderful opportunities."


Meg 2: The Trench as James 'Mac' Mackreides