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Lani Tupu (born 4 November 1955 in Auckland, New Zealand[1]), billed variously as Larney Tupu, John Tupu and Lani John Tupu, is a New Zealand-born classically trained actor of Samoan descent. He was educated at Rongotai College and Wellington Teacher's Training College. He was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Bursary in 1977 to enter New Zealand Drama School, where he graduated in 1978. Lani left New Zealand for Australia in 1985 to "branch out across the big pond."

Lani John Tupu
Lani Tupu 2.jpg
Lani Tupu at DragonCon 2009
Born (1955-11-04) 4 November 1955 (age 63)
Auckland, New Zealand
Other namesJohn Tupu; Larney Tupu



Lani Tupu has been nominated for several awards throughout his career. These include the Best New Talent at the 1984 Feltex Television Awards, several awards from the New Zealand Film and TV Awards (1993) for Best Dramatic Performance and a Best Actor award for Talk of the Town, which he also directed, at the Dream Maker Festival in Ontario, Canada. He was also finalist for the Male Performance Supporting Role at the 1986 Listener Film Television Awards for his work in the film Send a Gorilla, and was nominated for Best Actor in 1985.

Tupu participated in the foundation of an Australian theatre group called The Walkers and Talkers, which is no longer running, and has also served as an acting coach and taught "Acting for the Camera" in Australia and New Zealand. He also runs weekly workshops on "Screen Acting" at the Actors Centre in Sydney, Australia. He is active in stage production, both as a director and actor, and spends considerable time behind the camera. He directed Going Home for the stage as well as the critically acclaimed and award-winning short film Talk of the Town (1996).

Tupu's TV appearances include: Country GP, Impossible (1988), Time Trax (1993), The Feds (1993), High Tide (1994), The New Adventures of Flipper (1996), House Gang (1998), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (1999/2000), Farscape (1999–2003), Green Sails (2000), The Finder (2001), Grass Roots (2003), Stingers (2002/2004), Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (2004).

His movie appearances include Send a Gorilla (1988), The Punisher (1989), Marlin Bay (1992), Heart of Fire (1997) (USA: "Tanker Incident"), Lantana (2001), Liquid Bridge (2003), and Robotropolis (2011).

Since 2007 he has been the narrator for promos on SBS.



Year Title Role Notes
1988 Send a Gorilla Ian Hunter
1989 The Punisher Laccone
1996 Talk of the Town Short
2001 Lantana Patrick's Lover
2003 Liquid Bridge Sharky Garcia
2007 The Condemned El Salvador Warden
2009 Dear Diary Dan Short
2009 Broken Hill Maestro Pindari (voice)
2011 Robotropolis Gordon Standish
2012 The King Is Dead! Boss Maori
2012 Marla Carlos Short
2015 Mise-En-Abyme Ryan Cumberford Short


Year Title Role Notes
1976 Epidemic Tini TV miniseries
1984–85 Country GP David Miller Episodes: "1.32", "Tim's Commie Dad"
1985 Roche Siosi Vaumauga Episode: "E.T."
1986–87 A Country Practice Richard Monti Episodes: "Day After Day: Parts 1 & 2", "Caught in the Act: Parts 1 & 2"
1990 Mission: Impossible Michael Otagi Episode: "Cargo Cult"
1990 Embassy Kalim Episode: "First Comes Marriage, Then Comes Love"
1992 Police Rescue David Goldberg Recurring role (season 2)
1992 Marlin Bay David Spence TV film
1993 The Feds: Abduction Idris Karya TV film
1994 Time Trax Col. Nabib Kila Episode: "The Gravity of It All"
1994 G.P. Brian Farmer Episode: "Breaking Out"
1994–95 High Tide Rev. Simon Henry Episodes: "Let Us Prey", "Regarding Joey"
1996 Flipper Count Vicente Episode: "The Sword of Carlos de Cabral"
1997 Heart of Fire Roger Parks TV film
1998 Tales of the South Seas Caleb Trader Episode: "Paradise Regained"
1998 House Gang Dennis Episodes: "Moving Out", "Chaos"
1999–2000 The Lost World Capicotchi / Tolmac / Prince Apep's Slave Episodes: "The Journey Begins", "Stranded", "Salvation", "The Prisoner"
1999–2003 Farscape Bialar Crais / Pilot (voice) Main role
2000 Green Sails CCT Negotiator TV film
2001 The Finder Lyle Riskin TV film
2002, 2004 Stingers Ellery Berman / Consul Khemal Lazo Episodes: "Disgraceful Conduct", "No Man's Land"
2003 Grass Roots Lynton Aubrey Episodes: "Garbage", "Investigation"
2004 Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars Pilot (voice) TV miniseries
2006 Monarch Cove Joe Episode: "1.9"
2007 Home and Away Lou Baines Episodes: "1.4407", "1.4415"
2007 The Sun's Search for the Moon Blue God TV miniseries
2009 The Cut Norberto Silwa Episode: "The Best Sex I Ever Had"
2010 Rush Pell Fisher Episode: "3.5"
2012 Packed to the Rafters Psychic Simon Episode: "Sign of the Times"
2013 Camp Dr. Welter Episode: "Parents' Weekend"
2013 Redfern Now Minister Episode: "Consequences"
2014 The Code Thom Episode: "1.1"
2017 The Letdown Jimmy Episodes: "Genealogy", "Mother Nature"


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