He was born at Tahoraiti, Dannevirke and was educated at Otoko Native School and Whakatane High School. From 1956-1976, he worked in light and heavy engineering. From 1963-69 he was a merchant seaman. From 1977-89, he was a Union Organiser for the New Zealand Engineers’ Union and was a representative of the Māori and Pacific Island Trade Union and the New Zealand Amalgamated Engineers’ Union. In 1978 he received a Mobil Fellowship and attended Clyde Cameron College in Australia. In 1985 he was a recipient of the USA Visitor Programme in Washington DC, USA. He has been awarded the QSM. In 1985 he was made a Commissioner Member of Sports and Recreation. He travelled to Alberta, Canada, to accompany home a chief of the Cree Indians who died while attending the International and World Healing Conference held in Rotorua in February. He states "I am not a writer as such, but have contributed to areas I have felt strongly about." His activities have focused on the Whanganui River and his iwi.
- Correspondence from Niko Tangaroa: 18 Mar. and 7 May 1998.
- "Te Hikoi Ki Waitangi." Te Hikoi Ki Waitangi 1984. [Otara], N.Z.: Waitangi Action Committee, Aug 1984. 32-33.
- A description of the 1984 hikoi to Waitangi.
- Tangihanga. Comp. Nick Tangaroa. [Auckland, N.Z.]: New Zealand Amalgamated Engineers’ Union, 1988.
- In this publication on tangihanga Tangaroa provides the text of Paratene Ngata’s "Death, Dying and Grief, A Māori Perspective", which details the protocol and customs surrounding the sick, dying and deceased in Māoridom. Tangaroa emphasises the importance of tangihanga to Māori and expresses his hope that this publication will illustrate ‘the difference between Tangihanga Leave and Bereavement Leave as determined in terms of Māori peoples’ knowledge and adaption to bi-culturalism’. Tangaroa includes a glossary of key terms associated with tangihanga, and a conclusion in which he stresses the importance of allowing Māori to attend tangihanga.