1989 to 1993
As a talented sportsman at Matamata College in the early 90s this guy had a vision. He has always been a wrestling fan but didn’t envisage becoming a pro-wrestler and owning his own Wrestling Company (www.NHPW.com.au) in his 30s.
Nikora was one of eight children and his family belongs to the Raungaiti, a small tribe belonging to the Ngati Haua.
At school Nikora was a member of the 1st XV Rugby, won the shot put, discus and hammer throw in the senior boys’ athletic championships, was the Tui House School Leader and a member of the Maori Culture Group. He also performed on stage in two school productions – James and the Giant Peach and Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Nikora was a tall, strong guy with loads of personality and talent.
Like his brothers, Nikora was involved in rugby since the age of four and played for Waikato Secondary School. Among his teammates during this time included star rugby union players Keith Lowen, Bruce Reihana, Damian Karauna, Jason Spice (Matamata College) and Nicky Little. In 1994, he trialled for the New Zealand under-19s with All Blacks players Anton Oliver, Christian Cullen, Carlos Spencer, Carl Hoeft, Chris Jack and Marty Holah.
Even with all that rugby talent, Nikora chose to become a professional wrestler. Nikora had a number of jobs before becoming a professional wrestler including Security and Human Resources in Hakea Prison. He shifted to Perth, Australia, and met wrestler Sione Vailahi who advised him to attend Afa Anoa'i's Wild Samoan Pro Wrestling Training Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He arrived in the United States not long after and trained at the wrestling school. Training consisted of 1,000 squats, 100 sit-ups, 100 leg raises and 200 pushups before entering the ring. Along with additional training Nikora graduated early from the program within 60 days breaking the previous record set at 96 days.
Introduced as a villain, with a ring name of Mana the Polynesian Warrior Nikora made his professional debut in World Xtreme Wrestling easily defeating his opponent, a masked wrestler aptly named Guy In A Mask. Nikora proved so popular with the crowd, that he would wrestle as a fan favorite for much of his early career. He also began performing the Haka, prior to his matches.
A month after the 11 September attacks, he was denied a six month extension on his work visa by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Although forced to remain in New Zealand for some time, he eventually returned to active competition in early 2003.
In April 2003 he became WXW Heavyweight Champion. Although he lost the championship, he regained the title two months later. His second reign lasted nearly three months before losing again in 2004.
Nikora now owns his own wrestling company mentoring young wrestlers. He has travelled the world wrestling in America, England Rarotonga, Western Samoa, Hawaii, Australia, Thailand and Dubai.
Who would have imagined a young guy from this school would become an international star in the wrestling ring. What a great story.
Nikora has retired from the ring and lives in Western Australia where he is planning his wedding to Karene Ferguson of Bunbury. (I’m not sure whether she is a pro wrestler but I can only imagine she will have a real interest in the sport).