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Difficult, challenging days worth it for Akuera and Te Atarangi

Te Atarangi with her dad Akuera Nia Nia. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

KAREN COLTMAN
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Near the end of his 2017 school year, Akuera Nia Nia’s former girlfriend found she was pregnant. He was 15 years old, going on 16.

He was delighted to be celebrating Father’s Day at Castlepoint Beach yesterday with his two-year-old daughter Te Atarangi whom he adores.

But the road to this celebration was difficult and challenging.

Nia Nia said hearing they had conceived put him in a panic and he was “terrified” about what his parents would say.

He was sure he was going to be in serious trouble about the fact he was going to be a teenage dad.

His girlfriend’s parents were completely against the idea although she wanted to keep the baby.

To his surprise, his mother Marlene and stepdad Earl Harris supported him all the way.

“They coped well and were happy to have a baby coming into the family,” he said.

Te Atarangi was born at Wairarapa Hospital on June 17, 2018. It was an emergency birth several weeks before the due date because Te Atarangi’s mother passed out suddenly at the baby shower.

His daughter now lives with Akuera and his parents. The toddler came to live with him when she was one year old. He is a solo, 17-year-old dad.

“Her first birthday party was big and full of unicorns because she loves them,” Nia Nia said.

“Everywhere you looked were unicorns – unicorn cake, balloons, mats and cupcakes – it was great.”

Nia Nia is a student at the Teen Parent Unit at Makoura College and is finishing NCEA Level 3. He is studying English, Maori performing arts and maths.

Te Atarangi likes pretending to be chatting on the telephone, riding toy motorbikes, and pretending to take photos. Most of all she likes to have cuddles with her dad.

“I am the happiest person in the world,” Nia Nia said. “I am so proud of her.

“There is nothing like cuddling her. Becoming a dad was definitely a good thing in life.”

His advice to other dads was to get a routine going and get support.

“Hey, I love it.”

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