Tiki was born in Otautahi or Christchurch on 17 December 1976. His father Uekaha is of Ngati Maniapoto descent, while his mother Lyn is of English and Scottish heritage – the McDuff clan. The third child of 4, Tiki was preceded by 2 sisters – Maureen Aroha, Ninakaye and then followed by his baby brother Anaru Kune, from Ngati Kahungunu and Taranaki.
Raised most of his life in Otautahi, Tiki spent his school years at Heathcote Valley School, Shirley Boys’ College and then changed to Linwood High School in his 4th Form year. Soon losing interest in his school education, Tiki began spending time on the streets, getting up to mischief and having many close calls with the law. In the early 90’s, at a crucial time where Tiki was considering some very downward-spiralling pathways, his father Uekaha gave him a classical acoustic guitar. To this day, that guitar can be seen as the vehicle through which Tiki’s life took on a powerful new purpose.
Tiki’s new guitar never left his side as he taught himself to play – listening to and then mimicking riffs and chords from the likes of Metallica, Megadeth and others. It wasn’t long before he was composing his own guitar tracks, lyrics, bass guitar and drum tracks too. Fronting his first band Cultivation at the age of 15, Tiki was joined by drummer Richard Dale, bass guitarist Mike and guitarist and backing vocalist Jason Young (of Future Stupid, Loves Ugly Children and Excellent Soul Therapy fame).