New Zealand Wrestling History – Part 1

History of Clubs Competing

BROWNS BAY Club was started in 2001. The idea of the club is for people to wrestle after they leave school.

KELSTON Recently formed this year, doesn't bear much resemblance to the old Kelston Club of the 1980-1990's. It is very much based in the school but, does endeavour to encourage Old Boy's who wrestled, to return. When we get wrestling mats we aim to make the club available for wider community use.

New Plymouth- interesting people involved in our club over the years. N.Kurtz, G.Richards, F.Fenton, L.Denton, G.Dolan, J. Daly, B. Scott, J.Hussey, B.Gatenby & our successes T.Scott, , N. Daly P. Rodgers

The late ERNIE SCOTT & his wife YVONNE is what made it a success. He is sadly missed. at the club. We are one of the lucky clubs around who owns their own gym. Our gym has been around for awhile our honours broad dates back to 1972. Trent was one of the best wrestlers and coaches NZ had.NICK DALY went to the Olympic Games 2000.Most recent are Shane Whitehead & Toby Fitzpatrick. Michael Rodgers is our coach& started his wrestling at Stratford. Wrestlers enjoy their sport, have fun, can't wait for the tournaments, see the great friends that they make over the years.

COMBAT SPORTS 1927 Harry Baldock began instructing wrestling. In 1930 he opened his own full time facility, the Baldock Institute, after 55 years, Geoff Todd took over. Harry trained many provincial and national wrestling champions including his son Peter Baldock. He was a referee. Wrestling was a big part of the training he offered army recruits. Wrestling was his first love. Literally thousands have been trained by Harry. Geoff, got Alan Rolton to take wrestling, five years ago. Alan 25 members & nationals champions. Like Harry Baldock's son Peter, Geoff's daughter Jessica has also won a national wrestling title. We are very proud of our coach who has given much of his time to our club & look forward to many years wrestling.

KILBIRNIE The Kilbirnie Wrestling & sports Club, known as Kilbirnie Gym, has had a huge impact on Amateur wrestling in NZ.In the 1960-70s they had the Champion or Runner-up in all the 8 weight divisions at the NZ Nationals!! Members of the club have had a major influence on NZ Wrestling over many years & still today. Including coaching & setting up other clubs. Jack Prestney, Ken Ruby WANGANUI, Terry Hawkey PORIRUA, OTOROHANGA, HAMILTON & ROTORUA, Scott Laurenson – TAWA, Zander Laureson- TAUPO & Happy Bradnam TI TAHI BAY. The club set up a trust supporting wrestlers today.

TAWA In 1958 S.Laurenson, A.Snedden, R.Donaldson built the clubrooms for future success. Gary Knight-Bronze, Zane Coleman, Chris Maddock & Graeme Hawkins went to CGames. Scott also instigated the female squad. Sian Law, Natasha Laureson, Desiree Craike & Ngaire have international experience, thanks to that support.

TAIERI formed 62 years ago. A long history of NZ Champions & many loyal members & their families. Ray Tourell & John Anderson were foundation members. Walter still pipes in the teams. Many talented wrestlers- R & S Montgomery & Steve Wylie their coach, a great wrestler -National Champion. Many, like the Isaacs continue to share their expertise for the enrichment of wrestling.

STH CANTERBURY Peter & Paulette took their club & other NZ Wrestlers, through the USA for a month, this year. Exposing them not only to Competition, but to trainings from World Champions – the feed back is very positive. Their results speak for themselves. " Easy Training-Hard Combat, Hard Training- Easy Combat!"


ALTON – Graham Campbell has a very successful club & has bred coaches too.

COUNTIES HUNUA – Mac is still the centre of our club after 34 years. Boasting the most competitors here, through the dedication of our great committee & Coach John Andrew. Skills are steadily developing for more World Champions. Breeding good wrestlers, 11 Grevatts, 2nd generation talent.




HAMILTON – One of the oldest sporting clubs in the area, with lots of National titles. D.McBeth, S.Stanett, A.McBeth, N.Astrella, G.Astrella, J.Pellew & B.Roche have achieved outstanding success. D.McBeth 6th in World Junior Champs.

KATIKATI – started by Andy Roche 22years ago, the Wildcats have a strong base & Ross Tanner coaching.


Quick Profiles

IAIN ADAMSON-Involved for 25 years-Started at Kelston with D. Druitt & S. Reinsfield, switching from Rugby League.1982-85 developed an outstanding group of wrestlers winning the N Z SS trophy several times. Early 1990's moved to Dilworth- rapidly developed an outstanding team & dominated sec. school wrestling -late 1990's & early 2000's. Estab. very successful club- Dilworth Grizzlies. Chairman- NZ SSWrestling Assoc during most of those years, & took a number of secondary school teams to the States. 2003 NZ Coach of the Year.

WAYNE THURSTON- Joined Featherston 1987 .Had never wrestled, watched for 2 years, couldnt coach-decided to referee. Told the late Keith Scott & got thrown in the deep end at Club champs & Nationals 1989. Fila Qualified 1990 & Category E 1998. Traveled to Canada,& US, CG & other internationals. Life member of Featherston Club & Treasurer for 15 years. NZOWU -Director of Officials 1994 & still head of Officials Panel.

ANDY ROACHE-Andrew started wrestling at aged eight at Herald Island club. Instantly hooked. Continued to wrestle until he was 27. Coached at Raglan, Church College and Raglan Clubs while he continued to wrestle himself. Shifted to Waikeria and along with Wayne LeHaavre and Paul Dalley started a Club and coached there for four years. Shifted to Katikati and started a Club there in 1983. Coached there ever since.

NOLAN PARKER- Service for 50Years-Joined Pukekohe Wrestling 1955, wrestled until 1962. Won Akld Snr titles 1958 &1962. Coached in Akld 1960-74 & Akld Coach 2yrs. He as all at that time would train 6-7 nights a week. Driving to Akld from Pukekohe, 3-4 nights. Joined Akld Judical Panel 1965 & National Panel 1970. FILA international referee 1977 -many International tournaments till 1999. CGx4.1999 FILA Pairmaster .

BEV PARKER- Service to Wrestling for 31 Years-Joined Henderson Club in 1974 doing Pairing under Helen Walker. 1977 she decided to referee & joined the Akld panel. After 3yrs she was a member of NZ panel & became NZ's first FILA international female referee. Has Officiated at many international tournaments. Chairman & Secretary of AKLD Assoc. She then went back pairing at national level & still helps today.

BRIAN STANNETT – Service to Wrestling for 50Years – Current President of NZ Wrestling1955 Started wrestling at Y.M.I Te Awamutu as a 13 years old, 1968/1971 NZ Champion, NZ Team NZ/Australian Champs, 1971 Veterans Champ.. 1972 Asst club coach at Y,M.I.,1974 Worked with Dr Dale Thomas in preparation of CG squad.Many overseas trips as Coach & Mngr, World Schoolboys, 2xCG.Refereed for many years 1999 Asia/Oceania Most Outstanding Referee/Judge.

BRIAN ISAAC – President, Life Member N.Z.O.W.U., Referee, Director of Finance & Technical, N.Z.O.W.U. since 1983. President of Otago Wrestling, presently Secretary of Otago, Chairman of N.Z. Secondary Schools Wrestling Assn., Volunteer 2000 Sydney Olympics. Refree for a very long time.

ROSEMARY ISAAC – Pairmaster – Olympic Games 2000, Club Treasurer, President, Secretary, Committee Member Otago Assn., Distinguished Service Award, Judicial Panel Secretary, Chief Pairmaster, Supporter, Fundraiser, Life Member.

ALAN ROLTON at 8yrs-his neighbour, Harry Baldock told him wrestling was a great sport. Won Schoolboy junior & senior titles & later for Otago & Sth Island. Voted Otago Wrestler of the Year in 1983.

BASIL HOOKER Wrestled in Akld in 1950's. Won Akld titles, 1950 against Peter Fletcher & beat Barry Coutrney for 1962's title. Helped build the Otahuhu Club & later St Annes in Manurewa, then his Papatoetoe Club. Contributing through sharing his skills & knowledge. Still lending support to the new Conifer Grove Club.

Keith Scott QSM- 50 years wrestling was a major part of Keith's life. Started at 14 in Featherston. Won many island titles. His highlight would be winning the NZ Lightwt title & HM Allen Cup-Most scientific wrestler in 1970. Many years he was Secretary of Featherston & National Secretary from 1966-73 & on Executive, Deputy & Chairman & President. Member of NZ Olympic & CG Assoc & President of Oceania Wrestling Federation. Keith was one of the instigators in setting up the Robert Algie Memorial Trust which assists young people to compete in their chosen sports, and was a dual winner of Wairarapa Sports Administrator first in 1986 and then in 1993. He also received the Queens Service Medal in 1989 for his services to wrestling.


Well-known New Zealanders Who Have Wrestled

Bull Allen (All Black – International Rugby Union player)
Ben Herring (Super 12 – 2002 Southland Rugby Player of the Year)
Mark Horo (Kiwi – International Rugby League / NRL player)
Gary Knight (All Black – International Rugby Union player) –
Commonwealth Games wrestling medallist
Kees Meeuws (All Black – International Rugby Union player)
Matt Rua (Kiwi – International Rugby League / NRL player)
Sam Tuitupou (Super 12 – First class Rugby Union player)
Inga Tuigamala (All Black – International Rugby Union player)
Mark Weedon (NZ XV – First class Rugby Union player)


Action: A referee's command to the wrestlers to initiate wrestling.

Ankle lace: A hold in which a wrestler traps his opponents by the ankles with his arms and exposes opponent's back to the mat.
Arm throw: A move in which a wrestler throws his opponent over his shoulder by holding the opponent's arm.
Belly-to-back souple: A hold where a wrestler throws his opponent in a wide arc of movement while holding the opponent from behind.
Body throw: A move in which a wrestler locks arms around the body of his opponent and throws him to the mat.
Bridge: The arched position a wrestler adopts, with his back facing the mat, to avoid a fall.
Bridge out: A move used to escape an opponent by rolling from a bridge onto the stomach.
Central circle: The small inner circle of the wrestling mat.
Central wrestling area: The circle on a wrestling mat between the central circle and the passivity zone.
Danger position: A position in which an opponent has a wrestler's back at less than a right angle to the mat.(i.e. facing mat)
Disqualification: A match in which a wrestler is disqualified for breaching the rules.
Double-leg : A move in which a wrestler takes down his opponent by his legs
Fall or Pin : Forcing(pinning) an opponent's shoulders to the mat for a touch.
Freestyle/Olympic: A form of wrestling in which wrestlers may use their arms, bodies and legs and may hold opponents above or below the waist.
Greco-Roman: A traditional form of wrestling in which wrestlers may use only their arms and upper bodies to attack and may hold only those parts of their opponents.
Gut wrench: A move where a wrestler rolls his opponent across him on his back while bridging.
Open: The referee's command for a wrestler to change his position and adopt more open tactics.
Passivity: Stalling; adopting a "negative" approach to a bout by appearing to avoid the action.
Passivity zone: The outer circle on a wrestling mat.
Pin: Another term for "fall".
Protection area: The border of a wrestling mat beyond the passivity zone protecting against injuries.
Single-leg : A move where a wrestler takes down his opponent by lifting the opponent's leg with the arms.
Technical points: Points scored during the match.
Technical superiority: To win a round, declared when one wrestler gains a 6-point lead on opponent.

Freestyle and Greco-Roman differ in what holds are permitted; in Greco-Roman, the wrestlers are permitted to hold and attack only above the waist. In both Greco-Roman and freestyle, points can be scored the following ways, with analogs in folkstyle and collegiate:

* Takedowns: Gaining control over your opponent from a neutral position.

* Reversals: Gaining control over your opponent from a defensive position.

* Escapes: Escaping your opponents' control. (The escape point is no longer awarded in the international styles.)

* Exposure: Exposing your opponent's back to the mat.

* Lifting: Successfully Lifting an opponent in the defensive position and exposing his back. (The lift point is no longer awarded under the rules changes adopted for the international styles in 2004-2005. Lifting has never been rewarded in folkstyle or collegiate, and rules against locking hands on the mat interfere with its practicality.)

* Penalty Points: Various infractions (striking your opponent, acting with brutality or intent to injure, using illegal holds, etc). (Under the 2004-2005 changes to the international styles, a wrestler whose opponent takes an injury time-out receives one point unless the injured wrestler is bleeding.)

A match can be won in the following ways:

* Win by Fall: A fall, also known as a pin, occurs when one wrestler holds both his opponents' shoulders on the mat simultaneously.

* Win by Technical Fall: If one wrestler gains a ten-point lead over his opponent at any point, the match is declared over and he is the winner. (In folkstyle and collegiate wrestling, a technical fall occurs when one wrestler gains a fifteen-point lead.)

* Win by Decision: If neither wrestler achieves either type of fall, the one who has gained more points during the match is declared the winner. If the wrestlers have gained the same number of points, a panel of judges internationally. In folkstyle and collegiate wrestling, a tie results in an overtime period.

* Win By Major Decision: In folkstyle and collegiate wrestling, a decision in which the winner outscores his opponent by eight or more points is a "major decision" and is rewarded with an additional team point.

* Win by TKO: TKO stands for Technical Knock Out; if one wrestler is knocked out and unable to wrestle, the other wrestler is declared the winner. This is officially referred to variously as WBI (win by injury), medical forfeit or injury default in the international styles and folkstyle, in which knockouts are not encouraged and are treated as accidental. The term also encompasses situations where wrestlers become injured, take too many injury time-outs or cannot stop bleeding.

The countries with the leading wrestlers in the Olympic Games are Iran, United States, Russia (and some of the former Soviet Union republics), Bulgaria, Hungary, Sweden, Finland and Turkey.

Article written by Fight Times Editor