Ruia Aperahama was bought up at Ratana Pa and raised in the Ratana Church in a rural area between Wanganui and Palmerston North. He learnt to read music and play different instruments from a very young age. His involvement with the church and Wanganui brass band, choir, various contemporary bands and kapa haka has provided him creative flexibility. He enjoys writing songs in both languages and is adept on a variety of musical instruments including saxophone, keyboard and guitar. He is a superb and passionate vocalist as well as being a gifted singer/songwriter comfortable in traditional Māori or contemporary musical environments with a reggae style with strong jazz and pop influences.
A graduate of Wellington Teachers' College with a Diploma in Japanese Studies as well as Māori being his first language, Ruia has taught in total immersion at the International Pacific College, and has also taught at Titahi Bay North School and Te Kura o Ratana. He is respected for his knowledge of Māori custom and lore.
Ruia is also an illustrator and writer for the children's magazine in te reo Māori,Taiki e!, a radio host on Auckland Māori Radio Waatea 603 am, and a translator for a Māori language company versioning television programmes and documentaries into te reo Māori.
Ruia is probably best known for his music. He gained an international reputation when his hit song What's the Time Mr Wolf became a top five gold selling hit and featured in the acclaimed movie, Once were Warriors. He is the recipient of two New Zealand music industry Tui Awards and a songwriter award. Since 2001 he has released 4 albums all of which have been finalists in the Vodaphone NZ Tui Awards. Two have won the Tui Award for Best Māori Album of the year, Waiata of Bob Marley Volume 1 in 2001, and Hawaiki in 2004. In the same year he won the APRA Maioha Māori songwriter of the year award.
Ruia also works with youth at risk and inmates in the hope of inspiring alternative choices in life. He was involved with Songs From The Inside, a CD based on the successful Māori Television series that follows four top Kiwi as they teach songwriting to prison inmates. Songs From The Inside has been critically acclaimed since it premiered in March 2012.
He is an honorary recipient of the Toi IhoTM Māori made trade mark that recognises individuals who are of Māori descent, and guarantees the product is of high quality. Ruia's music CDs carries this mark. Ruia received an Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2012. The Laureate Award is an investment in excellence across a range of art forms for an artist with prominence and outstanding potential for future growth. Their work is rich but their richest work still lies ahead of them. The Award recognises a moment in the artists' career that will allow them to have their next great success.
Ruiais studying towards his Post Graduate Diploma in Business (Māori Development) at the Graduate School of Enterprise, University of Auckland Business School. He is an associate researcher with the Mira Szászy Research Centre for Māori and Pacific Economic Development, University of Auckland Business School.