Keisha Castle-Hughes (born 24 March 1990]) is a New Zealand film actress who rose to prominence at the age of eleven when playing Paikea "Pai" Apirana in the 2002 film Whale Rider. The film was nominated for many awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actress of which she was the youngest female nominated in the Best Actress category and an award at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards for Best Actress, which she won in 2004.
Since she made her film debut, Castle-Hughes has appeared in various films including Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger (2008), New Zealand tele-movie Piece of my Heart (2009) and a small role in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). She also played the main role of the Virgin Mary, in the film The Nativity Story in (2006).
Castle-Hughes was born on 24 March 1990 in Donnybrook, Western Australia, to Desrae Hughes, a Māori mother, and Tim Castle, an English-Australian father. Her parents, who never married, later separated. She was 18 months old when her family moved to New Zealand; she became a New Zealand citizen in 2001. Castle-Hughes has four younger siblings, brothers Rhys (born 21 February 1992), Liam (born 1996) and Quade (born July 2006), and sister Maddisyn (born 2001). Castle-Hughes attended Waiuku Primary School, Bailey Road School, One Tree Hill College, and Rosehill College, all in Auckland.
In October 2006, it was announced that Castle-Hughes and Bradley Hull were expecting their first child together. Their daughter Felicity-Amore was born on 25 April 2007. Keisha currently resides in Auckland.
Castle-Hughes campaigned for Greenpeace as part of the SignOn.org.nz climate campaign. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key initially admonished her to "stick to acting", but offered a week later to discuss the issues with her over a cup of tea after she maintained she knew more about them than he gave her credit for.
Year Film Role Notes
2002 Whale Rider Paikea Academy Award nomination
2005 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Queen Apailana of Naboo Cameo
2006 The Nativity Story Mary
2008 Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger Sunni
Piece of My Heart Young Kat TV
2009 The Vintner's Luck Celeste
2010 Legend of the Seeker Maia TV
2011 The Almighty Johnsons Gaia TV
2011 Mona's Dream pre-production