Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Nicholls, the eldest child of the late Ada Rongomatane and Ernest Nicholls, was humbled by the opportunity given to him by the kopu ariki (the five tribes of the Kea family).
He hoped that his appointment would act as a beacon for Atiuans around the world.
“I want the young people of Atiu to come back home, like I have,” Nicholls said.
Secretary of the Atiu community Nga Teao-Papatua said that Nicholls should be seen as a role model
“What he’s saying, he’s putting into action. He’s saying to his people, ‘please come back home to Atiu, especially the youth’,” Teao-Papatua said.
Nicholls was born on July 19, 1978, and was raised in the Cook Islands.
He attended school in Atiu and at Tereora College, and intended to study at the Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland, before deciding to work in Australia.
He started off doing security, before getting involved in construction, and now does steel-fixing in Sydney.
Although he admitted there were nerves in taking up the title, he expected that his mother and the people of Atiu would be happy with the appointment, which sub-chief to the king Bob Williams confirmed.
“The process, especially in his selection, was in keeping with Atiu tradition, in terms of nominating the representative to represent the passing of Mama Ada,” Williams explained.”
“All the Atiuans’ are looking forward to that day when he returns to be named as the new king of our tribe Ngati Paruarangi.”
Ada Rongomatane passed away early last month, and in her memory a family service was held at the Atiu hostel in Tupapa-Maraerenga, before the body was transported back to Atiu for the funeral.
To everyone that contribute to the service and the funeral, Nicholls said that he was incredibly thankful for their efforts.