Celebrity Treasure Island star Eds gets his motivation from his daughters

Introducing his stunning daughters, the actor opens up about whānau and his difficult childhood.
Michelle Hyslop

Work it, girls! Work those angles! Give it to them!” actor and Celebrity Treasure Island contestant Eds Eramiha yells as his two gorgeous daughters, Manawa and Tuihana, pose at our Woman’s Day photoshoot at top Auckland eatery Metita.

He’s delighted when our makeup artist says he’s had an easy job because these young women are so genetically blessed. “They’re beautiful, né?” a proud Eds, 36, agrees as he hugs each one under a muscly arm. “I could hear that every day.”

As they perform for the photographer, it’s clear the girls have also inherited some of their dad’s prowess in front of a camera. Laughing, the Dead Lands and Vegas actor jokes, “I’m their momager!”

However, it hasn’t been an easy road for Eds, who is of Ngāpuhi descent, to get into the spotlight where he now finds himself. Raised by his grandmother, it wasn’t until he was 10 that he met his parents and then he left home at 14.

Although Eds currently resides in Auckland, while his girls live with different whānau members in Northland, he tries to spend as much time he can with them.

“I didn’t want Manawa and Tuihana to also come from a fatherless generation,” he explains quietly. “I’m very much still in their lives.”

The proud dad with daughters Manawa (left) and Tuihana.

The girls recently travelled down to the big smoke to see their dad speak at the M9 hui, where he appeared alongside Shortland Street stars Ngahuia Piripi, Ben Mitchell, Kura Forrester and Miriama Smith, and talked about turning childhood pain into art.

His daughters are clearly as enamoured of Eds as he is of them and they love seeing his work.

Tuihana, 18, especially enjoys seeing him do kapa haka, boasting, “He performed with Ngā Tūmanako, who are the best in New Zealand. It’s really hard to make it into that team, so we’re really proud.”

Meanwhile, Manawa, 15, loves his TV work, particularly Vegas and precolonial drama Kairākau, but it was his M9 speech that blew her away. She says, “It was very emotional and funny. It was cool hearing about his journey.”

They only see their dad every few months, but they try to make the most of what time they do have together.

“It’s pretty hard,” admits Manawa. “We miss him, but we do lots of fun stuff when we do see him. Dad takes us to the movies, escape rooms, Rainbow’s End, scootering… He’s very happy all the time and really encouraging, like, ‘You can do it!’ I love that side of him.”

When asked what they’re most proud of about their dad, the two whisper in te reo to each other. Eventually, Manawa declares, “I’m just proud – he’s my dad!” Nodding, the quieter Tuihana adds, “He’s a really hard worker.”

An emotional Eds later tells us, “As a parent, you never hear that your kids are proud of you. It’s really special. I didn’t get all this stuff as a kid, but I’ve been determined not just to show my girls how to turn opportunities into success, but also how to deal with the struggles with hard work, determination and focus.

“Now, though, I have to let them go because that’s another part of life – understanding your own path in this world. They’re not my little girls any more.”

Flexing his muscles on CTI

Eds split from his daughters’ mother when their youngest was born, but he insists the separation was “nice and mature”. He explains, “I get on with their mum, her partner and their whole family. We have to make that bond for the girls. With co-parenting, it’s so important to have that respect and love for each other.”

Single for four years, Eds says he is open to the idea of romance. “If it happens, it happens. I’m not a chaser!” As for having more kids, he jokes, “These are the only girls I can afford right now!”

Eds has a busy 2024 ahead, with roles in top-secret TVNZ and Netflix shows, but his production of Hatupatu/Kurungaituku: A Forbidden Love is particularly close to his heart. Based on the legend of the Te Arawa warrior and the birdwoman, it’s an immersive aerial dance and theatre show that’ll see the star flex his kapa haka muscles once again.

Eds has even had a hand in advising on the choreography, but when asked, he shrugs humbly and says, “I’m just here to give!” Indeed, as our shoot draws to a close, he helps tidy up and even carries a few of our photographer’s bags. Then as he heads off with his giggling girls in tow, he turns around with one last cheeky grin, calling out, “Take it easy – and if it’s easy, take it!”

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