Past to Present

Welcome to our new 3D presentation of ITKD history in New Zealand.

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1966-01-01 13:43:02

The early days of Martial Arts in NZ

Many martial arts were introduced into New Zealand by military servicemen returning home after receiving their training overseas. Judo (considered as more of a sport rather than a martial art), was the first to form a national organisation in Easter 1957. Karate was started in the early 60’s by pioneers such as Jack Simms (Auckland) and John Jarvis (Wellington). The first Korean art to start was Tang Soo Do, which began in a Petone garage in 1965. Al Powers and Frank Bauer had learnt Tang Soo Do in Korea as a part of their armed forces service. The art was originally known as Su Bak Do and was basically the same as Shotokan Karate. Al Powers moved the club to the Petone Junior School in 1967.

1969-08-01 13:43:02

Taekwon-Do arrives in New Zealand

The first groups of Taekwon-Do exponents got together in 1969. One group was at Palmerston North’s Massey University under a Malaysian, Raymond Yap who trained others on the campus being mainly his countrymen.

1971-01-01 00:00:00

Cooperation to make things happen

Between 1971 and 1974 Norman Ng and Willie Lim began to make contact and discuss the idea of getting together to conduct gradings. Norman Ng had been grading his own members until this time and Willie Lim had periodically invited overseas examiners for his gradings. They did get together occasionally, but in the main kept contact through correspondence only.

1974-01-01 00:00:00

Growth through enthusiasm

In 1974 servicemen returning home from overseas and students studying here began opening clubs. These included Ben Mose (Upper Hutt/Porirua), Franky Yeo (Victoria University), Padre Tairea (Auckland), Tere Maorikava (Auckland), Evan Davidson (Wellington) and John Tay (Wellington). John Tay trained in Singapore and started a club in the Petone Judo premises, calling on the services of Al Powers (Tang Soo Do) to assist him. He later started the Wellington One club. Evan Davidson had learnt Taekwon-Do in Singapore. He returned from his army training and formed the Miramar Taekwon-Do club in 1974. He established contact with the other instructors throughout the country and it was largely due to his enthusiasm that clubs started getting together for trainings and demonstrations.

1975-01-01 00:00:00

Young Ku Yun

A Korean student, Lee Sung Yoon, was also instrumental in bringing many of the Taekwon-Do people into contact with each other. Lee, who later became the Vice President of Han Nam University in Korea, was a 3rd dan (Korean Taekwon-Do Association) who did not actually have a club but assisted local instructors in any way he could. It was he who rang Evan Davidson informing him that a Korean, Young Ku Yun, was coming to Hamilton. Young Ku Yun was a 6th dan international instructor who had set up in Sydney in 1971. He had learnt Tae Su Do in Korea and came to know of General Choi Hong Hi while serving his National Army Service. He learnt the Taekwon-Do patterns and became a member of a demonstration team touring Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong. He had planned to move to the United States but was unable to get a visa so decided to settle in Australia. Willie Lim had organised Young Ku Yun to come to Hamilton for a grading and students from Palmerston North and Wellington were invited to watch. At this time Norman Ng was looking for an examiner to grade his 1st gups, Ian McDonald and Robert Moar. Unfortunately an amicable arrangement was unable to be reached. However this opportunity provided a meeting between Young Ku Yun and Norman Ng - a meeting that would begin communication between Yun and the New Zealand instructors.

1975-02-01 13:43:02

The arrival of WT & the fallout

1975 also saw the arrival of World Taekwondo Federation (WT) in New Zealand. The WT was formed in 1973 as a rival organisation to General Choi’s International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). Lee Jung Nam had been an examiner in Singapore (he graded Evan Davidson and Ben Mose as coloured belts), and he arrived in New Zealand to set up clubs under the WT. The Korean Embassy contacted Evan Davidson and arranged a meeting with Lee Jung Nam and some other members. Lee wanted assistance to get established. However Evan Davidson did not want to be involved as it meant learning new patterns and changing to WTF. Lee’s influence on other members including Ben Mose, Sonny Ooi and the chairman of the New Zealand Martial Arts Council, Graham Dellow, meant he was eventually sponsored to live in New Zealand, thereby setting up WT. In December, Young Ku Yun came to Wellington and apparently had quite a heated discussion with Lee Jung Nam at a Wellington hotel. Although no-one knows what was said (it was all in high volume Korean!). By this time Young Ku Yun had established good contact with local instructors and had arranged to come to conduct gradings in Wellington and Palmerston North and also run a seminar at Victoria University. Instructors then began teaching Taekwon-Do under Young Ku Yun.

1976-02-01 00:00:00

General Choi's first visit to NZ

On 26 May 1976 General Choi Hong Hi visited New Zealand to meet instructors.

1976-02-01 00:00:00

Australian Taekwon-Do Academy

By early 1976 all ITF clubs in New Zealand were unified under the Australian Taekwon-Do Academy (ATA). However Willie Lim and Charles Wee (Auckland University) then became independent. In a letter to Evan Davidson he explained that he was not happy with some of Young Ku Yun’s grading results, some of the politics, and that he would prefer to organise his own examiners as he needed them.

1977-01-01 00:00:00

Demonstrations & the first South Pacific Championships

In 1977 demonstrations were planned to promote Taekwon-Do. Regional and national committees were set up to organise them. A team from Australia assisted with the demonstrations. They were held at venues such as the Palmerston North Opera House in January 1978. In conjunction with the demonstrations, the first training camp was held at Massey University from January 9-14 1978. The first South Pacific Taekwon-Do Championships were held in Wellington on the 22nd January with competing teams from New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. General Choi Hong Hi was in attendance and promoted Young Ku Yun to 7th dan.

1978-02-01 00:00:00

National HQ & NZ Tournament

In 1978, an Australian, Bernie Korent moved to Auckland to establish a national headquarters for Taekwon-Do. It was officially opened on 17 August 1978 and located on the first floor of the Eden Buildings, 117 Albert Street, Auckland. The first goal was to run a Nationwide tournament and on 19 August members from all over New Zealand gathered for this event which was held at the Auckland Y.M.C.A. Unfortunately the national headquarters was to close by the end of November 1978 and Bernie Korent returned to Australia.

Past to Present

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