Wrestling shows a hit
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.