• Tim Tipene

    A life dedicated to change

  • Tim Tipene

    Founder of Warrior Kids, Award-winning Author and Inspirational Speaker

    Tim speaking at the Auckland Writers Festival, 2017

    Actor Teuila Blakely talks Warrior Kids.

    25 Years of

    Warrior Kids

    Parents talk

    Warrior Kids

  • About

    From Pain to Purpose


    Tim Tipene was adopted into the Waitai-Tipene whanau as a toddler. He was raised in two cultures, NZ Maori and NZ European. Tim's immediate family were abusive and violent. His biological father was a convicted predator and violent offender who spent much of life behind bars. It was only with the extended whanau that Tim felt loved.

    Expelled from high school Tim went through a number of jobs, homes and relationships before he managed to find help to address his past.

    Through a combination of therapy, martial arts and personal development, Tim overcame his abusive and violent childhood and broke the cycle. He has spent his life transforming the lives of others, often without any form of payment.


    For 25 years Tim has been changing lives through his acclaimed Warrior Kids program, his award winning books and his inspirational talks. Tim has featured on television, radio and in various magazines and newspapers.

    Tim Tipene

    Tim as a child with some of his aunties

            Warrior Kids.

    In 1994 at the age of 22, Tim was unemployed and had no fixed abode. Without any formal qualifications or funding, Tim consolidated his learning and experience and started the Warrior Kids program to help kids in his community. Tim went on to provide Warrior Kids to communities and schools for 25 years, taking referrals from community and government agencies, and changing the lives of thousands of children and their families. In all that time Tim's Warrior Kids classes only ever received 6 months of funding.


    In 2006, Tim's 'Warrior Kids' novel for children was published.

    It was re-released in 2012 as 'Bullies and Warriors'.

    In 2011, Tim's Manual 'Warrior Kids, Warrior Training for Children' was published allowing Warrior Kids to be taught nationally and internationally. Tim became a trained counsellor and gained a graduate certificate in Child and Adolescent Mental Health in 2000.



    Tim was first published in 1996. He is the author of ten books, five of which have won awards, including the picture books for children - Maui - Sun Catcher, Hinemoa te toa, Taming the Taniwha, Haere and The Wooden Fish. Tim's other books include Rewa finds his Wings, and the novels, Kura Toa Warrior School and Patu.


              Inspirational Speaker.

    For two decades Tim has been sharing his inspirational story

    of overcoming a violent and abusive childhood and breaking the cycle with audiences both young and old.

    Tim speaks in schools through Duffy Books in Homes, Storylines, the NZ Book Council and Getting Kids into Books. Tim was a speaker at the 2017 Auckland Writers Festival and has been a part of the Sir Peter Blake Dream Team of Leaders.

    Tim Tipene with Mrs Battersby

    Tim Tipene with one of his childhood heroes, Mrs Battersby, 2017

    More facts about Tim

    Tim's tribal affiliations are Ngati Kuri and Ngati Whatua.

    • In 2013 Tim was inducted into the New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
    • In 2014 Tim was recognised as a Kiwibank Local Hero and received a Medal in recognition of his contribution to the lives of others.
    • In 1994 Tim founded Kura Toa Warrior School to house his own form of therapeutic personal development and self mastery called Toatoi, (Warrior Art).
    • Tim started martial arts at the age of 12 and over 35 years has gained a number of Black Belt Dan ranks and teaching titles.
    • Tim started working in the community at the age of 18 when he became a live in support person for adults with special needs for Mt Tabor Trust.
    • Tim has also been an advocate for adults with special needs, a self-defence instructor for women and a facilitator of Anger Management and Living Without Violence programs for men.

    Click for Fact sheet for Media and Teachers


  • Warrior Kids

    Self Control and Social Skills

    For Children and Teens

    In 1994 at the age of 22, Tim was unemployed and had no fixed abode. Without any formal qualifications or funding, Tim started the Warrior Kids program to help kids in his community. Tim went on to provide Warrior Kids to communities and schools for 25 years, taking referrals from community and government agencies, and changing the lives of thousands of children and their families. In all that time Tim's Warrior Kids classes only ever received 6 months of funding.

    Self Control - Social Skills - Self Regulation - Assertiveness - Resilience - Mindfulness - Emotional Awareness - Conflict Resolution - Self Protection & Martial Art Skills - Fun


    The renowned child centered class where the focus is on personal development. Warrior Kids is a high impact, full on, non-stop adventure for children, involving games and challenges where students become champions of life.

    Students learn in a nurturing and therapeutic environment, while also being challenged. There are times of sharing and reflection, times of practicing breathing and mindfulness exercises, times of exploring body work such as flexibility and agility exercises, and times of play. Also students learn life enhancing martial art skills. Warrior Kids is winning without causing defeat, teaching techniques of de-escalation and containment.


    Focusing on bringing out the warrior within, Warrior Kids draws upon Maori warrior concepts and Eastern martial arts in a non-aggressive way designed to instill confidence, respect and self-control, leading children to become masters of their lives.


    A survivor of a violent and abusive childhood, Tim broke the cycle through a combination of Martial Arts training, Psychotherapy and Personal Development. Tim consolidated his learning and experience to create Toatoi, (Warrior Art), a holistic form of therapeutic personal development and self mastery.


    Tim established Kura Toa Warrior School in 1994 to house his Toatoi classes, including the renowned Warrior Kids program.

    Warrior Kids runs each school term meaning that the program is ongoing and that families are able to continue attending beyond the initial 10 weeks. Individual progress in Warrior Kids is acknowledged via belt grades up to Black Belt and beyond.


    'As a parent observing, I have learnt also,'

    - Warrior Kids Parent.




    To find out about classes with Tim visit the Warrior Kids website



    For teens visit


  • Speaker

    To have Tim speak at your school or event phone Rosemary

    on 021 840 898

    ''There is not enough superlatives in the dictionary to say how good Tim Tipene was. He is not only an excellent role model who makes a genuine connection with his listeners, but he is also a talented performer when delivering his 'story' about his childhood and 'Hinemoa te Toa'. One of our staff members actually based his thesis on Tim and his story.

    At the time we actually had a child who was dealing with Family Violence and Tim's connection to this boy was inspirational.

    High impact with laughter and tears of joy, real issues dealt with honesty and care. I know this was about reading, but Tim's korero was more than just that!' - Raniera Koia, Acting Principal, Riverdale School, April 2018.


    'We had Tim in the last week of school and he was outstanding..., even the newspaper reporter commented on how engaging he was. His message was a powerful one, delivered in an engaging, humorous manner. Just absolutely fantastic thank you. This is the first role model we have had at Te Hapara School, but I have been to other Duffy Schools before and Tim would rate as one of the best role models I have ever seen. A huge vote of thanks to him and to Duffy for making this happen. We feel so privileged to have had Tim at our school.' - Linda Savage, Principal, Te Hapara School, April 2018.


    'It was a pleasure to meet Tim, listen to his fabulous story telling and be inspired by his korero. The children were in awe, hanging on to Tim's every word. Tim's stories of his upbringing and the challenges he faced as a child are also a reality for a number of children at our school. It was real, relevant and gave our children hope. It was fabulous for the children to hear about Tim's successes, especially his love of writing and reading. Our children are currently a part of our whole-school inquiry process on 'Pure Reading', so it has been wonderful using Tim and his books as examples of great NZ stories written by great New Zealanders.'' - Gina Holmes, Cobham School, April 2018.


    'Thanks to Storylines for the fabulous author visit from Tim Tipene yesterday. We were his fourth school of the day and he still had great energy and enthusiasm. He held the kids interest for over an hour! Tim is very motivational as a speaker and I'm sure he struck a chord with many students, both with his stories of his life and his passion for telling stories. The memory of this will stay with many of our students. Please pass on to Tim my heartfelt thanks and also my admiration of him, his many talents and his passion. Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity." - Jenny Joynt, Ruawai College, May 2017.


    'You will read below about our visit from the author Tim Tipene last week - a fantastic experience.

    In amongst the humour and quick-witted story-telling, he told the story of how one year, with one teacher changed the course of his life. Their connection, through her belief in him, and his desire to live up to her expectations, reflected in so many ways what has been a focus for us this year - the link between building relationships and learning. It was inspiring to hear the impact of this in

    'real-life'. The other huge positive from Tim's visit was the effect on so many of our boys, and how they see themselves as learners. Tim's story was very relatable for many, and reinforced the importance of positive male role models around our young men.' - Kathryn Ramel, School Principal. Snells Beach School. May 2017.


    'We were truly spoilt to have Tim Tipene speak at our school assembly last week. What an entertaining afternoon! Tim was honest, funny, sad, and most importantly 'real' when sharing the story of the events that led to him becoming an author.' - Snells Beach School Newsletter, 19 May 2017.


    To have Tim speak at your school or event
    phone Rosemary +64 21 840 898

    Photo: Tim speaking at the Auckland Writers Festival 2017.

    Photo by Stephanie Creagh.

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