Rutene is of Ngāti Porou, Ngāruahine, Ngāti Kahungunu descent.
A small role in Nikki Caro's film Whale Rider at the age of nine kickstarted Rutene's career in the arts.
Since graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Musical Theatre, the singer, actor and entertainer has toured nationally and internationally for various theatre and corporate entertainment companies.
He has since appeared in such musicals as Billy Elliot (New Zealand premiere); Jersey Boys (Australian Tour); Chicago and Little Shop of Horrors (The Court Theatre) and Jekyll & Hyde (Australasian premiere), to name a few.
Rutene recently featured in the Disney film Frozen - Reo Māori voicing The Duke of Wesleton and also received The Grant Tilly Actor of The Year award at the 2023 Wellington Theatre Awards.
He has been described by the New Zealand Herald as “a stalwart of the Auckland cabaret scene” and has toured his award-winning shows Super Hugh-Man and Thoroughly Modern Māui both nationally and internationally to great acclaim.
Outside of his busy performance schedule, Rutene also works as a creative producer, documentary director and vocal and performance coach.
He is a proud kaihaka of Te Kapa Haka of Whāngara-Mai-Tawhiti, a member of the Modern Māori Quartet and a proud union member of the New Zealand Actors Equity.
- 2023 - Be Like Billy? - Writer | Performer
- 2021 - Little Shop of Horrors - Seymour Krelbourn
- 2017 - Chicago - Amos Hart
- 2017 - Matatihi: Maia’s journey of bravery - Co-creator
- 2016 - Matariki: Little Eyes in the Sky - Co-creator
- 2015 - Māui Me Te Rā - Co-Creator / Director
- 2014 - A Midsummer Nights Dream - Snug
- 2013 - The Mikado - Pish Tush
- 2013 - Postal - Celine
- 2013 - Maui and the Sun - Director / co-creator
- 2013 - Beauty and the Beast - Beast
- 2012 - Grease - Roger
- 2009 - Anything Goes - Ensemble/Tap Dancer
- 2009 - The Ugly Duckling - Mother Duck