Uekaha Taane Tinorau (of Ngāti Maniapoto descent) was raised in Waitomo, one of 18 children. In the mid-60s the government initiated the Māori Trades Training Scheme, and Uekaha was dispatched to Christchurch for a panel-beating apprenticeship. Uekaha quickly discovered that few in Christchurch could pronounce his name so he rechristened himself Bob. It was only later that he returned to his Māori roots. Apprenticeship completed, he remained in Christchurch, married Lyn Jarman, and raised a family – Maureen, Ninakaye, Nathan (called Tiki from a young age) and Anaru (born with cerebral palsy and who died at aged seven). Both parents and both sisters have played a large part in Tiki’s career.
Tiki's early metal band Cultivation also featured future Loves Ugly Children and Future Stupid drummer/bassist Jason Young for their first gig, a NORML show at Canterbury University.