Graduating from the Victoria University in Wellington, he originally worked primarily as a comedian and actor, and was one half of the comedy duo The Humourbeasts with Jemaine Clement. He also acted in local low budget films and TV series and in 2011 played a supporting role in the superhero film Green Lantern before later turning his full focus to directing and writing.
As writer, director, and actor:
- Eagle Vs Shark (2007) as Gordon
- Boy (2010) as Alamein
- What We Do in the Shadows (2014) as Viagonote
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) as Ministernote
- Jojo Rabbit (2019) as Imaginary Adolf Hitler
As director and actor
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) as Korg (voice) and Surtur (motion capture)
As writer and director:
- Two Cars, One Night (2003)note
- Team Thor, a series of non-canon short films (2016 — 2018)
- What We Do in the Shadows (2019-)
- Green Lantern (2011) as Thomas Kalmaku
- Avengers: Endgame (2019) as Korg (voice)Note
- What We Do in the Shadows (2019) reprising the role of Viago
- Moana (2016)note
- The Mandalorian (2019) (Season 1 Finale)
Tropes associated with Taika Waititi's work include:
- Awesome, Dear Boy: This is the reason he wanted to direct Thor: Ragnarok, he has been a comics fan since he was a child and relished the idea of directing a superhero film. Cate Blanchett is also on record as saying one of the biggest reasons that she signed on for Ragnarok was so that she could be directed by Waititi, being a huge admirer of his previous work.
- Bathos: Most of the films in his filmography use this heavily, having some very serious and dramatic themes but pairing that with absurdist comedy.
- Black Comedy: A common component of his films, especially What We Do in the Shadows which is a mockumentary about vampires living in a domestic modern setting.
- Creator Cameo: As a trained actor, he has played small roles in a majority of his films.
- Mockumentary: Used in Flight of the Conchords, What We Do in the Shadows and the comedic Team Thor shorts he directed to show what Thor (and Bruce Banner) were up to in the run up to Thor: Ragnarok.
- Old Shame: He simply asked for a tumbleweed emoji when someone on Twitter asked him about his experience on Green Lantern.
- Production Posse: Has directed Rachel House in four different films.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: His films definitely lean more towards the idealistic side of the scale, they may deal with serious themes but they usually do so with humour, pathos and plenty of heartwarming moments.
- Something Completely Different: From very low-budget, primarily comedic independent films to the huge-budget, CGI-laden superhero tentpole film, Thor: Ragnarok. Despite the budget however, Ragnarok is still very much a Taika Waititi movie.note