Following the exciting news that Kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi has signed on to write and direct a follow-up to his 2017 smash hit film Thor: Ragnarok, we take a look back at some of the finest and funniest moments in his career to date.
5. The Thor: Ragnarok press tour
Now this is how you promote a film. Waititi looked like he was having the time of his life on the Thor: Ragnarok press tour, using any opportunity to gently roast his cast on Instagram or debut a beautiful new outfit. His "admiration" of Australian actors lead to these priceless posts praising Cate Blanchett and Chris Hemsworth at Comic Con, while he showed no mercy for Anthony Hopkins by sharing this photo of the actor sporting some uncomfortable- looking sweat patches, which Hemsworth had had the grace to photoshop out on his own account. Waititi was too busy working his stunning pineapple jumpsuit to worry.
4. Playing the role of Kiwi-accented Korg
Waititi was no stranger to casting himself in his own films – he's a comedic marvel in What We Do in the Shadows, and delivered one of the best scenes as the Minister in Hunt for the Wilderpeople. But his portrayal of Korg – a lovable, tender-hearted, New Zealand-accented alien made of rock – in Thor: Ragnarok is forever embedded in our memory. Waititi delivered some of the funniest lines in Ragnarok, stealing the show in a film that provided some much-needed comic relief to the MCU. We were thrilled to see Korg back in Avengers: Endgame, and we hope he's back in the action in the upcoming Thor sequel.
3. Hosting the New Zealand Music Awards
Back in 2015 Waititi took on one of the toughest gigs going; hosting the New Zealand Music Awards. So was he the host with the most? Err, not quite... What should have been a career slam dunk became one of Waititi's first big scale "controversies" when people failed to respond to his comedic choice to go over the top arrogant. While the music industry types crowded inside Vector Arena found his off-the-cuff improvisational style and funny riffs on how great he was hilarious, the Ricky Gervais style routine completely failed to amuse those watching the prime time broadcast at home on the telly. People were left divided and subsequently Waititi did not return to host the following year
However Waititi felt no sorrow and kept the schick going the next day when he responded to the criticism on his Facebook page, posting, "I was an amazing MC".
2. Winning the 2017 New Zealander of the Year Award
After establishing himself as one of Hollywood's most talented directors following the release of Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Boy, Waititi's success was recognised back home when he was named the 2017 New Zealander of the Year.
Chief judge Cameron Bennett said the Wellington-born filmmaker was talented, inspiring and a "thoroughly worthy recipient" of the supreme award.
"Taika Waititi is an exciting and inspiring example of who and what we are as Kiwis. Creative, courageous, audacious, subversive and downright funny, he's at the forefront of New Zealand filmmaking and the arts," said Bennett.
"Taika's outstanding contribution has not only been rewarded with record box-office success at home - he's also been highly successful in showcasing who and what we are to the world."
Waititi was working in Los Angeles at the time and was unable to receive the award in person. His wife, Chelsea Winstanley collected it on his behalf from then Prime Minister Bill English.
As well as his success as a writer, director, actor, comedian, visual artist and story teller, Waititi has also been passionate about engaging youth in the arts as a positive outlet for creativity. He also spoke publicly about child poverty and youth suicide.
1. Telling the world New Zealand is "racist as f**k"
After winning the hearts of the nation, Waititi showed courage in continuing to speak out and raise awareness of social issues when he declared New Zealand was "racist as f**k".
Waititi made the comment last April, while chatting with Kiwi musician Ruban Nielson, as the pair discussed New Zealand culture and their Kiwi roots in an interview for Dazed and Confused.
"It's racist as f**k. I mean, I think New Zealand is the best place on the planet, but it's a racist place," he said. "People just flat-out refuse to pronounce Maori names properly. There's still profiling when it comes to Polynesians. It's not even a colour thing – like, 'Oh, there's a black person.' It's, 'If you're Poly then you're getting profiled."
Waititi received plenty of criticism from those who disagreed with his views and even Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern weighed in on the matter, conceding there's "no denying we have issues" with racism.
Waititi's remarks came after he had previously appeared in a video supporting the New Zealand Human Rights Commission's Give Nothing to Racism campaign.