Tommy Kapai Wilson is one of 11 in his family, born in Tauranga of Ngati Ranginui/Pirirakau descent and now living in Te Puna where his mother’s Borrel family first settled 130 years ago.
After leaving school, Tommy at the young age of 16, left New Zealand to travel. For most of the next 25 years he worked and lived in a variety of countries. Once employed as an Aide de Compe (butler), Tommy looked after George Harrison, John Denver, Jimmy Buffett, His Royal Highness The Agha Khan, and The King and Queen of Nepal.
On returning home to New Zealand Tommy began his writing career. This has so far seen 35 publications in South Africa, Australia, China and New Zealand. These include Kapai The Kiwi, Cuzzies, The Day I met A Princess, Prince Thabo, Captain RedSox, The Um Tribe, Catseye Magazine and a weekly column in the local Bay of Plenty Times for the past seven years. The Scoop and Scribe series in partnership with APN Newspapers was one of his more recent publications.
Tommy is co-owner of A2Z New Zealand Limited, a company established in 2011 to write and publish a series of books aimed at improving literacy around the world. The first of these,M is for Mauao was published in late 2011 with the most recent,T is for Tauranga (incorporating quick reader codes) being published in May 2012.
Tommy has served as a Trustee for Tourism Bay of Plenty (five years) and is past Chairman of The New Zealand Maori Tourism Board. He currently holds the following positions:
- Board of Trustees Te Puna School
- Chairman Te Puna Matauranga – Maori Immersion Unit
- Board member Pirirakua Incorporated Society
- Board Member Ngati Ranginui Incorporated Society
- Board Member Ngati Ranginui Education Advisory Panel
- Trustee Te Tuinga Community Trust
- Secretary Nga Tahatai Coastal Care
- Patron Te Puna Library