Te Oti is an American-trained singer. He studied at New England Conservatory in Boston, received his doctorate in vocal studies from the University of Texas at Austin and undertook post-doctoral study in Germany. He is an active performer and researcher known for his willingness to sing across vocal genres and in diverse performance contexts. Since returning to New Zealand, he has established a successful performing career alongside his university teaching position. He is currently the Associate Dean Māori and Pacific Island for the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries and Coordinator of Vocal Studies in the School of Music at the University of Auckland.
As a researcher, he has published widely in the area of studio pedagogy and community music. He has participated in research initiatives aimed at improving the quality of education for indigenous Māori and Pacific Island music students in the tertiary sector and improving the music learning experiences of students from lower socio-economic areas. He has a special interest in exploring and developing inclusive research frameworks and the intersection of singing and population health. He has won two Excellence in Equity awards for this work and in 2010 received an Excellence in Teaching award for the implementation of innovative teaching practices in the area of vocal studies.
Te Oti is indigenous Māori, and his tribal affiliations are Ngāpuhi, Ngati Ruanui, and Kāi Tahu.