|Full name||Tawera Nikau|
|Date of birth||1 January 1967|
|Place of birth||, New Zealand|
* Professional club appearances and points
Tawera Nikau (born in New Zealand) was a rugby league player for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Melbourne Storm, Castleford Tigers, Warrington Wolves and for the New Zealand national side. New Zealand is an Island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island History See also History of rugby league The grass roots of rugby league can be traced to early football history, through the playing of ball games The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks are an Australian professional Rugby league team based in Cronulla New South Wales in the Sutherland Shire, south of Sydney The Melbourne Storm is a professional Rugby league football club based in the city of Melbourne, Australia Castleford Tigers are a Rugby league club based in Castleford in West Yorkshire, England. Warrington is a professional Rugby league club in the town of Warrington, Cheshire in England. The New Zealand national rugby league side represents New Zealand in the sport of Rugby league.
Tawera Nikau is a veteran of international rugby league at the highest levels, with a faithful following of fans in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. His career on the field has been spectacular, but events off the field have created an air of intrigue, especially his well-documented antagonism towards fellow Kiwi international Richie Blackmore - to the extent of his refusing a spot on the New Zealand team if it meant playing alongside Blackmore. Richard (Richie Blackmore is a New Zealand former Rugby league footballer
Nikau played in the Australian NRL for four seasons, from 1996 to 1999. In 1996 and 1997 he played for the Cronulla Sharks, before being a part of the inaugural Melbourne Storm team in 1998, which finished third in the minor premiership that year. The following year, the Storm beat the newly amalgamated St. George-Illawarra Dragons in the NRL Grand Final, after trailing at half time. Nikau was considered by many to be unlucky not to be given the Churchill medal (awarded to the player of the match in the grand final) for his performance in the revival. Nikau then left the NRL and signed a contract with UK Super League franchise the Warrington Wolves, with whom he played for in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. He also captained the New Zealand Maori League side, which played in the 2000 rugby league world cup under the name Aotearoa Maori, a side which was coached by Dean and Cameron Bell and included Paul Rauhihi, Henry Fa'afili, Wairangi Koopu and Jerry Seuseu as players.
On 5 April 2001, during the UK Super League season, Nikau's wife, Letitia, committed suicide. Following this, Tawera took time off his rugby league commitments to go back to New Zealand with his two children, Heaven and Tyme for Letitia's tangi. Nikau then played out the remainder of the season, and then retired from rugby league. He returned to New Zealand to live along with his children. In June 2002, Nikau appeared on the Yellow Ribbon Fight for Life, an annual boxing charity event with the aim of preventing youth suicides, where he beat former Samoan rugby union prop Pita Fatialofa in what is regarded as one of the greatest fights in the event's history.
The tragic suicide of his wife and his motor cycle accident which resulted in his having his right leg amputated in 2003, has seen him occupy more than a few headlines. Undaunted, he has risen above his own personal loss and tragedy to become an inspirational figure, through his fight back to physical fitness and competitive sport, setting himself a personal goal to become a Paralympian, to his work with troubled youth in his hometown of Huntly, through the funding and establishment of a gym and training facility. He is also giving something back to league, and is coaching a Huntly based team in the national league competition in 2004. His story of life at the top of his sport, and the personal cost of his career and the challenges he has had to overcome makes for a gripping and revealing biography of an inspirational New Zealander.
In 2004, Nikau appeared in the Fight for Life again, but this time as an amputee, and he beat Tea Ropati, in what was a decision largely made by the spectators. Later that year, Nikau's biogaphy, Standing Tall was published. It detailed the two tragic events that he endured, and covered his playing career from when he started to when he retired.
He was the inaugural coach of the Waicoa Bay Stallions in the Bartercard Cup. Bartercard Cup See Also Bartercard Cup seasons 2003-2005, Bartercard Cup season 2006 & Bartercard Cup season 2007. The Bartercard Cup (successor of the Lion Red Cup) was the top level Rugby league club competition in New Zealand from 2000 until 2007
As at November 2006, Tawera has been appointed New Zealand and Islander liaison Officer with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who over the last two years have signed a significant number of the current Kiwi squad including Roy Asotasi, David Fa'alogo, David Kidwell and Nigel Vagana. The South Sydney Rabbitohs, also known as Souths, The Bunnies, SSFC or The Rabbits, are an Australian professional Rugby league Roy Asotasi (born 6 January 1982 in Auckland New Zealand) is a New Zealand-born Rugby league player currently playing for the South Sydney Rabbitohs David Kidwell (born 23 April 1977 in Christchurch New Zealand) is a professional Rugby league player in the National Rugby League competition Nigel Vagana (born February 7 1975 in Auckland New Zealand) is an international Rugby league player for both New Zealand and
Other famous Pacific islanders playing for Souths in 2007 will be Joe Gulavao and Manese Manufakoa.
Along with aboriginal players Nathan Merritt, John Sutton and David Peachey the team has been affectionately labelled by fans of all backgrounds and culture as the "Black Rabbits"
He currently works for Māori Television. David Peachey (born 21 February 1974 in Dubbo New South Wales) is a former professional Rugby league player in the National Rugby Māori Television is a New Zealand TV station broadcasting programmes that make a significant contribution to the revitalisation of Te reo and