Wrestling shows a hit

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS - Bryce Luff

NICK Tuhakarain­a says he was 12 years old when he fell in love with wrestling.

“I was drawn in by all the drama, the ath­leti­cism, the look and all the dif­fer­ent el­e­ments of it,” he said.

“In New Zealand we were al­ways into ag­gres­sive things, and I loved comic books as well. Wrestling kind of fed that hunger for real life su­per­heroes.”

Mr Tuhakarain­a moved to Perth in 1994 to work and play rugby be­fore mov­ing to Al­len­town, Penn­syl­va­nia, to try his luck wrestling on the US cir­cuit in 1999.

He had planned for a six- month stay, but ended up with a suc­cess­ful seven-year ca­reer as Mana the Poly­ne­sian War­rior, which gave him the chance to mix with in­dus­try le­gends.

Back surgery put an end to his wrestling ca­reer four years ago, but that has not stopped him from build­ing on his pas­sion.

To­day the By­ford res­i­dent op­er­ates in a dif­fer­ent realm, putting on the same style shows he could not get enough of grow­ing up in New Zealand through New Hori­zon Pro Wrestling, a com­pany he helped found in the US.

These days up to 200 peo­ple pack the Cock­burn Youth Cen­tre to watch events there.

“I know peo­ple will say it’s fake, but see­ing these kids, their faces, the ones that have been com­ing to us for years, how they con­nect with the wrestlers, and how the wrestlers con­nect back, it’s in­cred­i­ble,” he said.

“It’s not like any­thing else when you get it right.”

Mr Tuhakarain­a said the shows were run at youth cen­tres be­cause he wanted it to be fun and fam­ily-friendly.

Youth cen­tre co-or­di­na­tor Paul De Bruin said NHPR trans­formed the hall into another world.

“The show is a lot of fun. The crowd re­ally gets into it and we’ve had re­ally good feed­back,” he said.

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