Casketeers star Francis Tipene has celebrated his 40th birthday with a lavish surprise party at Auckland’s Cordis hotel.
Francis, who is a dad to six boys and one girl along with wife Kaiora Tipene, celebrates his birthday on the same day as his son Moronai - December 13. But it appears celebrations have started early over the weekend, with Kaiora sharing several snaps of the night on Instagram.
Photos from the celebrations show the Tipenes dressed to the nines in black-tie attire, posing for photos among red roses, black and gold balloons and taking to the dance floor.
Pop artist and songwriter Annie Crummer even appeared as a surprise guest to serenade Francis for his birthday and sang a duet with him, while Auckland-based cover band 18 Grooville kept guests entertained.
“We had the pleasure of celebrating Francis Tipene with a special surprise birthday party inapō,” the band wrote on their stories before wishing the TV star a happy birthday. “Rā whānau our bro! Nā mātou te hōnore nui.”
The TV celebrity held her baby Ngawaiata Irirangi Taimania Tipene in a woven blanket made by Māori wool company Noa Blanket Co. during the Campbell Luke show at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland.
It came a week after the Tipene family celebrated the birth of their first daughter amid their tribe of five boys, taking to social media to share the news of her arrival and calling her their “little princess”.
“Kua tae mai te pirinihi,” they wrote, which translates roughly to “the princess has arrived”.
Kaiora posted on Instagram saying her daughter arrived earlier than expected, and she is “in love again”.
In April this year, it was announced Kaiora and Francis Tipene would be returning to our screens once again - but this time, the show will follow a slightly different format.
In a statement issued by NZ on Air, it was revealed the beloved Kiwi show The Casketeers will return for another season on TVNZ 1, this time taking things international.
Titled The Casketeers: Life and Death Around the World, the show is set to follow the Tipenes as they discover the deeply held traditions and rituals of death and dying from different cultures around the world.
The show will include six 44-minute episodes and was allocated a total of $1,537,537 NZ on Air funding.
News of the Tipenes’ new show came seven months after the whānau told fans they would be taking a break from the show to focus on their family.