10 Jul 2020

Terei Tonight - Pio Terei and Nicola 'Nix' Adams

From Nine To Noon, 10:07 am on 10 July 2020

New Zealander Nicola 'Nix' Adams' life spiralled out of control when she lost a child and turned to drugs to mask the pain.

Her husband left their home in Victoria, Australia for New Zealand with their other two children and Adams ended up in jail.

When she left jail two years ago, she made a Facebook video as a way to reconnect with her family as she climbed out of this personal hell.

And her hard-case personality and sharp tongue won her a heap of fans - more than 200,000 people follow her Facebook page: Cooked Whanau Korero with Nix.

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Now clean and sober and back in Aotearoa, she's got a new venture underway with comedian Pio Terei. His new show on Maori TV is called Terei Tonight which is being likened to a Kiwi version of Graham Norton, with interviews and live performances.

Adams is joining Terei for the comedy skit segments on the new show.

The pair met over lunch when it was suggested Adams should be involved in the show and there was an instant connection, Terei says.

“I just loved her tenacity and her vulnerability, and her honesty.”

Terei has also lost a child, which further cemented their bond.

He says he wanted Terei Tonight to be real, and Adams’ authenticity shines through.

“The thing is with Nix, and many, many, many people around the world, she stood at the black door.

“You know what I mean by the black door? At the end of your road the only way is to go up and you dig deep and all these beautiful things come out and it takes a lot of courage.

“They say television should be a reflection of who we are; well who’s reflecting people like Nix? Who’s the hero for a lot of our whānau out there who are really struggling, and I think Nix fits that for our whānau to say ‘good on ya girl, kia kaha, we’re in your corner.

“Her realness makes the show real.”

When Adams started to post video clips on Facebook in Australia it was a kind of therapy for her, she says.

“It became my counselling session. I tried to do the counselling, when I got out of jail, I tried to do the counselling and for me personally it didn’t work.

“It took 20 minutes for me to build the courage to open those doors to the trauma, and I finally open those doors and then just as it was starting to flow, and I was starting to unpack everything, the lady stood up looked at her watch and said oh sorry we’re going to have to shut the doors to that because our time’s up.”

On Facebook there was no time limit.

“I was able to unload. And I could go as long as I felt and it was actually those on the other side of the live stream that were commenting and they were actually helping me out, and giving me tips and tricks of how to deal with my trauma.

“I just found I was getting a lot more help from doing that and unloading and gathering tips from whānau that were watching all over the world than I ever did by going into this counselling office.”

After Adams’ son died her life unravelled, she told Nine to Noon.

“After the passing of my son, I spent 4 and a half years trying to drown out that reality with drugs and during that 4 and a half years ...I’ve got my son with me now … I remember calling him, lying to him, lying to my parents, lying to my husband - the father of my younger children. Telling everyone that I wasn’t on drugs, that I was sober and I was blatantly lying.

“So, when I got out of jail 2 years ago, nobody really believed me when I said this is it, I really am going to try to get sober.

“And I think at that time my words just meant nothing, because I had let so many people down.”

When she put her first video up she noticed it was being shared around New Zealand.

“I don’t know why, probably because I had missing teeth and I was in Australia making a cake out of a packet of Oreos and a can of Pepsi in the microwave and I think people in New Zealand were like who is this? What is her story?”

She was hoping the father of her children might see the clips and see she was serious about her recovery.

“Three months in, I got a message from my husband’s mother and she said ‘hey look we’re actually watching your videos and we’re sharing you on and we just want to let you know when you’re ready to come home, these kids are here waiting for you’.

“And that was all the fuel I needed and I started whipping that phone out more and more and more because I knew they were watching.”

She soon started to accumulate community of people with similar struggles that were cheering her on, she says.

“There’s a lot of people that saw that two years’ ago and they are also two years clean with me.

“When I was in Melbourne and going through that, I didn’t have any friends or anyone and so that online community became my friends.

“I would pull out my phone and say man I’m struggling today, really struggling, I’m getting triggered left right and centre. I’m dealing with this anxiety and they would say hey, take breather, take a breath, one thing at a time.”

Her videos are a far cry from the shiny influencers of Facebook, it's her and it’s real, she says.

“If I was going to put a mask on every day, that’s gonna be too hot.

“I would rather have people there 100 percent for the real me than have a massive crowd only there to see bits and pieces. No way.”

Terei Tonight is broadcast Tuesdays 7.30pm on Māori Television and online at maorielevision.com.