Who is Joe? Tell us your story in a nutshell? 

I am a hard-working passionate father who loves his kids and loves his family. I'm a mumma's boy. I love food and I love helping people. I love my gym, love working out there, and I love the community that I’ve created there.

What are the similarities and differences of playing rugby and acting?

If you're passionate about something then it doesn't matter what you're doing. If you apply the same mental, physical, and spiritual approach to something then the results will be the same. So I find similarities in everything regardless whether it's a sport or an art, if it allows you to express yourself as an individual then that’s the magic. I see them as both as mediums for my self-expression.

I prepare for acting in exactly the same way as I do for rugby. I learn my lines... I learn my plays. I prepare mentally through imagery and self-projection for both. I prepare physically for a role and I prepare physically for a match. I am constantly competing for my place in the team as I am for a role in a cast. I could go on and on with the similarities. I think the biggest difference with the two would have to be that I can't play rugby forever, in fact my time was already cut short. I can act for the rest of my life. 

What inspired you to be an actor?

I needed something to fill the void that rugby left in my soul. My brother is a writer and a director and he reached out to me when I got injured and told me to audition for something. When I did that audition it was like a light shone into the darkness. It lifted me up out of a hole and when you experience something like that it's addictive, you have to have it. You just want more and more.

What’s your favorite aspect of being an actor?

The fantasy of it all. To remove myself completely from everything that I know and trust and dive headfirst into the unknown. Letting go is the most amazing feeling ever and acting allows me to do that. It's always a challenge but that’s the part that is addictive.

You learn so much about yourself when you let go.   

What is your most memorable experience while filming your scenes for GOT?

It would have to be the first day on set. I was sitting in my tent on this massive set in full Dothraki regalia, waiting for Daenerys to be brought to me. It was a moment I will never forget and I almost shed a tear on set. Then I switched back into Game mode... Khal's don't cry!!!! 

Where is home for now? How often do you go back to New Zealand?

I'm making a home for myself here in LA for the time-being. It's only been about a month and a half now but it’s where i need to be right now so I'm grinding away. I do miss Auckland and my family but my mum always told me that nothing worth having comes without sacrifice.  

How long did it take you to learn the Dothraki language?

Probably took me a solid couple of weeks to pick up the nuances and that's practicing about 3 hours a day solid. It’s amazing- The detail that they have gone to in creating the languages on the show. Absolute genius! 


How is it working with Emilia Clarke?

She's the best. She is very funny but also very professional. We did some great work together and we had some great laughs.  

What else keeps you busy aside from acting?

I am spending time at the moment skyping with my beautiful son and daughter. Working on my business back home which is a gym I started 6 years ago. We are in the process of moving to a better venue at the moment so I'm spending a lot of time on the computer at the moment coordinating everything. Working out, eating, and watching Netflix probably fill the rest of my day!

Dream role?

Having my own super hero would be pretty amazing. Other than that working on a solid show with a solid character would be awesome.  

If you can compare your Game of Thrones filming experiences with food, what would it be?

It was like eating lobster... fine dining but you gotta pick it up with your hands to get the real juice out of it.

Speaking of food, what’s your favorite, healthy dish that you can recommend to your fans?

Probably my mum and Dad's oka or raw fish. Fresh snapper with fresh coconut milk, chillies, peppers, lemon, red onion, and a little celantro. The best and so healthy. 

Tell us more about Ludus Magnus.

I set it up 6 years ago now and it’s a real community gym. I love it and I love the way it makes people feel about themselves. We run 6 or 7 classes a day and the classes are challenging but they're also fun. 

Book that you’re currently reading

Reading a comic book... The Death of Superman

Tell us a secret.

I have a freckle

Last movie you saw.

Captain America

If you’re going to have a book, what title would it be?


If you had the chance and opportunity to help a specific charity, what would it be and why?

The NZ Breast Cancer Foundation. My mum is a survivor.  

Follow Joe's:

Instagram @joenaufahu

Twitter: @joenaufahu


Photographer: Irvin Rivera

Styling: Tyler McDaniel

Grooming: Bethany Garita

Hair: Genevieve Gian

Photo Asst: Phil Limprasertwong