Kawakawa Fox-Reo has revealed his Home and Away character Nikau Parata will make a HUGE choice after he saves the life of troubled patient Millie (Zara Zoe).
Distressed by the car accident that killed her friend, an injured Millie has fled the hospital.
As volunteer lifeguard Nikau sets up flags after warnings of a big rip in the surf, he spots something worrying…
“Millie walks into the ocean and she’s in her own world – she’s trying to take her life,” Kawakawa explained.
“Nikau can see she’s fully dressed and he’s not sure what’s going on. But he flips his lifeguard switch quite quickly once he sees she’s in immediate danger.”
Plunging into the surf with his rescue tube, he makes a determined attempt to get to her before she goes under. Despite the dangerous waves, he heroically saves her just in time and paramedic Xander Delaney (Luke Van Os) is on hand to revive her.
“It’s a big rescue for Nikau and it’s a make or break moment but he ends up following through, which is great,” shared Kawakawa
“It’s a huge moment for him and it proves he’s capable of doing the job he needs to do.”
The rescue wasn’t just a challenge for Nikau, as Kawakawa revealed he had to put aside his nerves to tackle the waves during filming!
“We had a safety guy on set and he was asking me questions about my abilities as a swimmer,” he revealed.
“I said I was confident, although I’m not the greatest to be honest, but I did some lengths for him and he was happy!
“It was exhausting but it was lots of fun and it was super cool to get the rescue shutes in the water.”
After Nikau’s ill-fated stint as a model that got Nikau involved with some very nasty people, volunteering as a lifeguard seems to have given him some purpose. Although boss John Palmer (Shane Withington) has often been on his back!
But with money worries on his mind, he alarms John by handing in his resignation. A job search ends in frustration but John comes to his rescue by suggesting they apply to the council to turn it into a paid position.
“Lifeguarding is closer to who he is than the modelling stuff, but it’s new to him and he doesn’t really believe in himself up to this point. It’s been a bit of a grind for him,” explained Kawakawa.
“He mucked around a bit when he first started volunteering. John just wants him to do well and that means being a bit stricter with him than he usually is.
“Nikau is very disappointed when he thinks he’ll have to give up being a lifeguard. But the reality of needing to pay the bills and help his uncle out is hitting him.
“It’s one thing to have your heart in it but it’s another thing to have to feed yourself and look after your family.
“He’s stoked when John helps him turn it into a job. He’s hugely excited, as it’s a dream come true.”
After spending most of his time in the bay with the Parata family and girlfriend Bella Nixon (Courtney Miller), Nikau’s lifeguard ambitions have seen Kawakawa filming a lot more scenes with Shane Withington, who plays John.
“John keeps Nikau on his toes a lot, for sure, but it creates a lovely dynamic between them.
“Nikau’s quite cheeky and John’s quite grouchy, but Nikau appreciates him for who he is. He’s incredibly grateful for the amount of time he’s put into him as well.
“The John and Nikau relationship is one I really enjoy. I can’t sing Shane’s praises enough!”
Kawakawa has been in the show for just over two years and he’s had to make a new life for himself in Sydney, after leaving behind his close-knit family in New Zealand.
“I used to miss home a lot, I’m not going to lie. Especially during the pandemic, I used to get really homesick and call my parents all the time.
“But I really love my life here. Sydney’s an amazing place. It’s taken a little while but I feel like I’ve found my feet here and found my tribe, for sure.”
Home and Away airs weekdays at 1:15 pm on Channel 5 and 6:00 pm on 5Star followed by a ‘first look’ episode on 5Star at 6:30 pm.