Sportal.co.nz 21.Feb.2013Getty Images
Nanai-Williams, more familiar in the role of fullback or wing, performed well in last week's trial against the Highlanders after Richard Kahui was still no available for selection.
Inside him will be Bundee Aki who has recovered from an injury concern to make his Super Rugby debut. Joining him on debut will be wing Patrick Osborne and hooker Rhys Marshall.
Also making his first appearance for the side will be discarded Blues first five-eighths Gareth Anscombe who will play at fullback.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said: "It's good to finally start the competition. I know the boys have been training hard and are looking forward to getting stuck into it, especially our new caps."
Still not ready to be considered were five-eighths Andrew Horrell, fullback Robbie Robinson and halfback Brendon Leonard.
The team is: 1.Pauliasi Manu, 2.Hika Elliott. 3.Ben Afeaki, 4.Craig Clarke, 5.Brodie Retallick, 6.Liam Messam, 7.Sam Cane, 8.Fritz Lee, 9.Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 10.Aaron Cruden, 11.Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12.Bundee Aki, 13.Tim Nanai-Williams, 14.Patrick Osborne, 15.Gareth Anscombe.
Reserves: 16.Rhys Marshall, 17.Ben Tameifuna, 18.Michael Fitzgerald, 19.Tanerau Latimer, 20.Augustine Pulu, 21.Charlie Ngatai, 22.Lelia Masaga.