Wilson, Tommy

Wilson, Tommy


Bay of Plenty

In Brief

Tommy Wilson is a self-described tangata moemoeā, a professional dreamer, who writes stories for children. He has written numerous children's publications, and he wrote in collaboration the initial Kapai books, including Kapai the Kiwi, Captain Redsox and The Magic Black Boat, and Kapai's Thermal Adventure. Wilson’s work has been included in the Australian magazine Cat's Eye, of which he is the founding editor. In 2004, he began the 'Cuzzies' series with the publication of Find the Rainbow's end.


Wilson, Tommy (Kapai) (1955-) is a self-described tangata moemoeä, a professional dreamer, who writes stories for children.

He has also at different times in his life worked in sales and marketing, as a private butler, a magazine editor and in the tourism industry.

Wilson’s books for children include The Day I Met a Princess (1997) written in collaboration with Michelle A’Court, Prince Thabo, and Blue Zoo .

Wilson also wrote in collaboration the initial Kapai books – including Kapai the Kiwi and Captain Redsox. Wilson’s work for children has also been included in the Australian magazine Cat’s Eye, of which he is the founding editor.

In late 2003 a new children's series, 'Cuzzies', was launched.This co-incided with the world's first children's indigenous clothing range that was launched at the same time with the same brand name into 33 T&T Clothing stores.

Cuzzies: Find the Rainbow's End (Kina, 2004) is the first book in the new Cuzzies series. Join the adventurous cuzzies - Little Pai and Cutie Pai - as they go in search of the rainbow's end, and find a lot more than they expected. Also published in Māori as Cuzzies: Te Pito o te Kopere (Kina, 2004).

Little Pai and Cutie Pai (the cuzzies from the coast) are off to catch some fish with Uncle Tutu. The sun is shining, the fish are jumping...What could go wrong? Find out in Cuzzies Meet the Motuhoa Shark (Kina, 2004), the second book in the Cuzzies series.

Kapai's Thermal Adventure (Random House, 2005) is another colourful and captivating adventure from Kapai and his mates Tamatea, Pipi and Uncle Slim. This time the group of friends explore Rotorua: discovering geysers, bubbling mud pools, hangi food and much more.

In 2006, Wilson self published Le Whanau (2006), a historical account of Emile Joseph Borell who set sail from Toques in France and married a Maori wahine to establish one of the only French/Maori communities in the world.

Scoop and Scribe Search for the lost stars of Matariki
was published by Random House in 2009, followed by Scoop and Scribe search for the lost waka of Aotearoa in 2010.

Wilson has been a weekly columnist with the Bay of Plenty Times for many years and he has had over 348 columns published by Australian Provincial Newspapers (APN).

He is the editor of Te Kumara Vine, a bi monthly magazine for Tauranga Moana published by Te Roopu Whakamana.

In 2012, Tommy Kapai Wilson published T is for Tauranga (A2ZNZ), which is the world's first QR coded children's picture book. Using a smartphone, each code leads to webpages that help you find more out about each place featured in the book. Local schools have been enthusiastic about this feature, with the Deputy Principal of Omokoroa Point Primary School saying: 'The possibilities for using it with students to enhance their learning about 'OUR PLACE' are endless.'

Wilson is currently working on A is for Auckland, which is due out later in 2012.

Wilson lives in Tauranga.

(Last updated: July 2012)

Updated January 2017.