Mike King


I met Mike King after welcoming him into our kura (school) to talk about mental health. The kura at the time had gone through a bit of a hard patch, as depression had affected a lot of young people in my community, and suicide had claimed the lives of five young people within three months. Mike was the first adult to speak openly and with authenticity about the problems that he had faced. 

This came as a shock to me. It was the first time we, as young people, were sitting in front of an adult who made us feel like it was okay to talk about our problems.

His understanding of what we thought were problems that only we were experiencing left us empowered. Whether that was the influence that drugs and alcohol had on our community or the battle we have with our own self-confidence and self-belief and wondering how to deal with those problems. He made it okay to ask for help, which was a difficult task as we grew up in a ‘take a concrete pill and harden up’ culture.

I often hear stories of the person Mike used to be as a stand-up comedian. More times than not, these stories contain negative aspects and mistakes that he had made during that time. Although some share this outlook of him, the Mike King that I have come to know over the past five years is a shining example of how, with the right mindset, anyone is capable of turning their lives around and becoming the best person they can be.

Mike’s burning desire and passion to support and empower young people across the world has changed over one hundred thousand lives, including my own. He continues to set a high standard of leadership, as he utilises a lot of his own time and resources to support communities, often resulting in a developed foundation upon which community groups have flourished.

Mike King is a Māori leader in mental health.

For more information about Key To Life Charitable Trust, click here.


Profile By

Ezekiel Raui 2016


He Rangatira Our Leaders

Dr Rees Tapsell

Ngāti Whakaue, Raukawa

Dr. Rees Tapsell has been involved in developing several Māori specific approaches to the provision of mental health care for Māori in both government and NGO settings for more than 30 years.

Ruahine Albert

Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Tainui

Ruahine Albert is passionate about social justice and works in local, national, and international government and community services to improve the well-being of survivors of violence.

Emma Wehipeihana

Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Porou

Dr. Emma Wehipeihana, an award-winning writer, podcaster, and political commentator, blends her medical knowledge with accessible writing to shed light on the Māori experience within New Zealand's healthcare system.

Phyllis Tangitu

Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Haua

It is my pleasure to write in support of one of the most thoughtful, kind leaders that I met in my working life.