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Juno Huia

JUNO HUIA, the original MAORI WARRIOR

JUno HuiaMy wrestling experience started in the amateur ranks back in 1975 with Jack Lukie and Tama Sasa in Wellington. I then turned pro in 1980-81, being taught by such New Zealand legends as Steve Rickard, Bruno Bekker and Merv Fortune.

The training conditions were hard back then. We didn't have a ring, we just trained on mats. For ring ropes, all we had was a rope tied to a post. And the wrestlers were a lot bigger in those days.

Steve Rickard was the only promoter I have wrestled for. Given that he is the godfather of New Zealand wrestling, I knew when I was on to a good thing and he taught me a lot.

I toured around New Zealand, wrestling in both large cities and small towns and on the popular On the Mat TV show.

WHICH LOCAL AND OVERSEAS WRESTLERS DID YOU FIGHT?

I wrestled Larry O'Day from Australia and Kid Hardy, plus two other American wrestlers (including Lars Anderson) and Australian wrestlers, locals Merv Fortune and Bob Crozier, Bruno Bekker, Cowboy Billy Wright, Lou Leota, Tama Sasa and Jack Lukie.

WHO WERE YOUR TOUGHEST OPPONENTS?

JUno Huia

Rip Morgan (now KPW CEO), Shane O'Rourke (father of "the Brute" J.E. O'Rourke), Tony Rickard (Steve Rickard's son), Rob McColl. My single toughest opponent has to be Larry O'Day from Australia.

BEST AND WORST MEMORIES OF YOUR ERA?

My best memory was when was I tagged with the Avenger, beating Bruno Bekker and Merv Fortune in the Wellington Town Hall. My worst memory was when I was thrown out of the ring on to the concrete floor and had a table put over my head!

WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW

Now I am semi-retired, though I still keep up with my weight-training and help out at the KPW training school. I want to help the next generation of New Zealand wrestlers. I am also the technical advisor to KPW's Whetu 'the Maori Warrior'.  He has got a lot of Mana and potential, and I see him developing into a real star for New Zealand in the future.

I would like to see this generation train a bit harder on the weights so they can develop and shape their bodies. Hard work will always get the job done, you get out of it what you put in.