Cliff Curtis opens up about childhood abuse that 'makes your toes crawl'

Hollywood star Cliff Curtis has opened up about his abusive childhood and what nearly led him to suicide as a teenager.

Renowned Kiwi actor Cliff Curtis gives a revealing insight into his life on the Marae programme Source: Marae

A fatal car accident killing Curtis' mum when he was three years old proved to be a catalyst for his family life to take a downward spiral.

His "heartbroken" father was left to care for Curtis and his six siblings, hitting them without hesitation.

"Dad was a character, he tried his best to raise his kids but it was tough on him and he didn't take well to it," he said.

Curtis described his home life as a "once were warriors scene every night", but he says that it was an accepted part of family life.

"That was normal were we grew up anyway. It wasn't a big deal and it wasn't the end of the world."

The Curtis family was split up between extended family later in life as it was clear his father was struggling to care for the large family on his own.

He was moved to an aunt's home in the Bay of Plenty where he would continue to be neglected.

"I could tell you some stories that would make your toes crawl. But they were raised in harsh lives too."

However, the 46-year-old says that while he doesnt accept their behavior he could'nt stay angry and bitter. He says he doesn't want to dishonour his father who "did his best."

The normally very reserved actor says he chose to reveal difficult tales of his upbringing on TV ONE's Marae programme this morning in a bid to give encouragement to young Maori in similar circumstances.