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New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame Speehes

Master Rounthwaite's Acceptance Speech
at the NZ Martial Arts Hall of Fame Ceremonies 2013

Fellow Martial Artists, Ladies and Gentlemen

I consider it an honour to have been thought of as being worthy of inclusion into the ranks of such an esteemed body of people as the New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

From my introductory Taekwon-Do days in 1976 as part of Upper Hutt’s Stokes Valley club, to the present day 37 years later, my martial arts journey has been and adventure that has taken me to more than 20 countries, and introduced me to a multitude of positive people, a number of whom I consider friends.   In my first 6 months of training with instructor Mr John Moran, my work mates noticed a more positive attitude in me, with skills and confidence spilling over at that time into my Policing carrier.

I am grateful for the initial influences of Master Young Ku Yun, the late Harry Hemana, Masters Evan Davidson and Paul McPhail, all of whom have influenced my life.  Of even greater influence was that of Grand Master CE Sereff (USTF) and Taekwon-Do’s Founder, the late General Choi, Hong Hi with whom we trained and socialized many times.

Travel is an important part of my life and enabled my wife and I to live 4 years in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea as a consultant to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, 10 years in Australia’s Sunshine Coast teaching TKD professionally, and 6 years in Thailand’s northern region of Chiangmai.  Taekwon-Do continued to be an important and enjoyable part of our lifestyle with clubs initiated by us continuing to this day. 
None of this would have been possible were it not for the support of my wife Trish, a Taekwon-Do 5th Dan, daughter Sheryl (3rd Dan), son Mark (5th Dan), and importantly, my Taekwon-Do family of practitioners who surround me.  Their loyalty and friendship is deeply valued.    

Grooming young students to become future leader’s in the art remains a key goal for me.  The joy of seeing young ones develop, not just as martial artists, but as individuals, is extremely rewarding.  Likewise, the buzz one gets from seeing the ‘more mature’ student advance is just as rewarding. 

We have a strong organisation in this country in International Taekwon-Do Foundation (iTKD) with an organisation that maintains high standards, builds inner strength and promotes social harmony.  Taekwon-Do in New Zealand has come of age.  To ensure that we can continue to offer Taekwon-Do as a way of life, it is important to recognise the efforts of long serving personnel. For those reasons I am pleased to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Mr Lowe's Acceptance Speech
at the NZ Martial Arts Hall of Fame Ceremonies 12/11/05

Mr Millar, Hall of Fame executive and members, ladies and gentlemen, I consider it an honour to have been thought of as being worthy of inclusion into the ranks of such an esteemed body of people as the New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

When I first walked into a training hall in 1974 and saw all these people performing martial art movements in funny white uniforms, I had no idea that I would be formally recognised for doing what they were doing, 31 years later.

I acknowledge and respect the contributions of all Hall of Fame members to the development of martial arts in New Zealand. With respect to Taekwon-Do in particular, I acknowledge the contributions of Norman Ng, the late Harry Hemana, Masters Evan Davidson and Paul McPhail, and Peter Graham, who is also being inducted tonight. I thank my first instructor, Mr Wong Chin, and the very first master I was associated with, Master Yun Young-Ku, for the inspiration they provided me in my early years.

Like so many other martial artists, I am glad that I allowed the art that I practice to come into my life. As I move through the cycle of life, Taekwon-Do remains as one of the few constants as everything else about me changes. It has been and continues to be a positive influence on my life. For this I am grateful to the late General Choi Hong-Hi, the Founder of Taekwon-Do, for his foresight and wisdom when he released Taekwon-Do to the world in 1955.

Looking at how the International Taekwon-Do Foundation has grown and developed since its small beginnings in 1981, I am encouraged and delighted in the knowledge that what we offer to society today is still relevant and in demand as it was a generation ago, probably even more so.

I appreciate being given an opportunity to make a difference to some peoples’ lives, and acknowledge that I could not have done it without the support of many people including my wife, Jenny, club members past and present, and a fantastic national organisation.

In order to show that Taekwon-Do in New Zealand has come of age, and to ensure that we can continue to offer Taekwon-Do as a way of life into the future, it is important to recognise the efforts of long serving personnel. For those reasons I am pleased to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Mr Graham's Acceptance Speech
at the NZ Martial Arts Hall of Fame Ceremonies 12/11/05

Your Worship, Mayor McElvie, President, Mr Dave Millar, Distinguished Guests, other Hall of Fame recipients, fellow Martial Artists, Ladies and Gentlemen.

In my 60 odd years (and some of them have been very odd) I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a few awards for various exploits, but I’ve never felt so humble as I do tonight, recieving this investiture

To be accepted into a group of elite exponents, most of who would never have heard of me, but many of whom I have admired over the years – it sort of ‘blows me away’.

I’ve never considered myself a great martial artist in the physical sense, but I have enjoyed being part of a fraternity that endeavours to follow simular moral principles no matter what the banner or ethnic origins of their particular arts.

I’m pretty sure I’m right in assuming that by the time we have reached this level where we are accepted by our peers, we have outgrown the My Art’s better than your art” syndrome and have matured as martial artists and embraced the moral culture that the majority of our arts profess to instil in their students.

In today’s world of potential violence where ethnic and religious groups have no hesitation in performing senseless acts of violence which kill and maim innocent bystanders in the name of their seemingly sick and perverted Gods or twisted political beliefs, it is heartening to know that there are still individuals, trained in the ability to perform more than a little serious mayhem of their own –have adopted a course of discipline that exemplifies all that true Martial Arts stand for.

In closing, I would like to thank my original Instructor, Master Evan Davidson (he was a lowly 1st dan then – over 25 years ago) Master Paul McPhail, who even in his young years was able to provide me with sound counselling when I needed it, Master Young Ku Yun, my original Master, and of course, the Founder of my particular art, the Late General Choi Hong Hi.

My thanks also to my wife June and my two daughters Bindi and Jedda who have had to share my time with TKD over these years, the numerous surgeons who have rebuilt various parts of my body as I’ve set about trying to destroy it, and my old mate, the late Harry Hemana who, I have found out since his passing, was responsible for nominating me for this prestigious acknowledgement.

Once again, thank you all for the wonderful opportunity to be here tonight.

Mr Davidson's Acceptance Speech
at the NZ Martial Arts Hall of Fame Ceremonies 11/11/00

Your worship Mayor White, Convenor Mr Dave Millar, Distinguished Guests, Other Hall of Fame recipients, Fellow Martial Artists, Ladies and Gentlemen.

What a neat feeling it is right now and I am proud and truly honoured to have been considered for induction in the NZ Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

To be thought of, alongside the early pioneers of the Martial Arts in New Zealand, is indeed a great privilege to me.

The art of Taekwon-Do has been part of my life for the past 28yrs and it is something I can carry on with for the rest of my life.

I could not have done what I've done and been where I've been without the strong support from my wife Fiona and my two daughters. I Thank them for that. They have had to put up with me, firstly with my occupation in the NZ Police and secondly during my spare time, as I have juggled between family and Taekwon-Do.

I must acknowledge a number of people who, if it were not for them, I would not be here today.

1. Mr Ben Mose and the late Mr Tere Maorikava. (It was they who took me to my first Taekwon-Do Lesson when I was stationed with the NZ Army in Singapore back in early 1972.) These fellow soldiers returned to NZ and set up Taekwon-Do Clubs in Trentham, Papakura Military Camps.

2. Mr Norman Ng, one of, if not the Original Taekwon-Do Pioneer in NZ. It was through Norman I helped establish links to other developing clubs in NZ which included meeting and training with Mr Willie Lim in Hamilton in those early years.

3. Master Young Ku YUN. He was my 1st Korean International Instructor, who taught me so much and influenced our setting up of the Original Taekwon-Do in NZ.

4. Mr Paul McPhail my fellow 6th Dan. He is a big inspiration to me and has inspired me to aim for greater things.

5. Lastly & most importantly, to General Choi Hong Hi, President of ITF, who developed and named the Art of Taekwon-Do. He is still teaching throughout the World at aged 82 years.

I also would like to make mention of my working with Mr Bob Gemmell and his Tonfa Skills. Back in 1980 prior to the1981 Springbok Tour we trained together for a short period and developed the techniques for the NZ Police in the use of the PR24 Long Baton.

Thank you all again for this most prestigious award.

I would just like to end here by quoting a passage from the Philosophy of Taekwon-Do written by General Choi which I believe is a reflection of what all the true Martial Arts try to achieve.

"The utmost purpose of Taekwon-Do is to eliminate fighting by discouraging the stronger's oppression of the weaker with a power that must be based on humanity, justice, morality, wisdom and faith, thus helping to build a better and more peaceful world."

Thank you and goodnight.



Inductees 2009
Martin Brady - Zendokai
Andrew Salton - Taekwon-Do
Stephen Pellow - Taekwon-Do
Kevin O'Leary - Kyokushin
Graeme Catlin - Jiu Jitsu
Henry Lynch - Aikido
Ray Irving - Shotokan Karate Do
Lawrence Butcher - Kempo/Sanshou
James Salter - Jiu Jitsu
Matt Ranson - Taekwon Do
Michael Hannah Taekwon Do
Gary Crosland - Ninjitsu
Angelina Carden - Seishin Ryu
Thomas Kupa - Kyokushin
Brenden Print - NZ Freestyle
Duayne Davies - Kyokushin

Inductees 2005
Michael O’Hara - NZ Freestyle
Philip Menehira - Maori Martial Arts
Chris Massey - Okinawan Karate Do
Henare Heta - Kempo Jitsu
Hoana Heremaia - Jiu Jitsu
Charles Chadwick - Zendokai
Steve Shaw - Aikido
Grant Power - Kesshin Ryu
Dianne Haynes - Aikido
Peter Graham - Taekwon-Do
Michael Lowe Taekwon-Do

Inductees 2002

Dennis May - Okinawan Goju Ryu
Kevin Pepperell - Kyokushin
Martin Stirling - Whanake Rangataua
Nick Christiansen - Kempo Bushido Ryu
Norm Palmer - Kempo Bushido Ryu
Margaret Hight - Tai Chi/Mulan/Kempo
Chris Dessa - Seishin Ryu Karate Do
Gary Trail - Jiu Jitsu
Garry Luton - Wado Kai Karate Do
Ken Buckley - Wado Kai Karate Do
Mike Kenworthy - Kyokushin
Paul McPhail - Taekwon-Do
Wayne Watson - Judo

Inductees 2000

Dave Millar – Jiu Jitsu
Al Powers – Tang Soo Do
Pat Zalewski – Sei Kukan Karatedo
Pat Toner – Judo
Doug Holloway – Kyokushin
John Jarvis – Goju Ryu/Kyokushin
Rick Littlewood – Judo
Bob McCallum – Kyokushin
Evan Davidson – Taekwon-Do
Harry Hemana – (Deceased) Taekwon-Do
Clare Hargreaves – Judo
Mike Ryan – Kempo Bushido Ryu
Glen Keith – Shaolin Fut Gar Kung Fu
Christine Gemmell – Kempo Bushido Ryu
Charles Mareikura ( Deceased) – Whanake Rangataua

1st New Zealand Hall of Fame 1997

Robert Gemmell – Kempo Bushido Ryu
Steve Heremaia – Jiu Jitsu
Kati Unuia – Tien Shan Pai Kung Fu
Soloman Purcell – Kyokushinkai
Lawrie Hargraves (deceased) – Judo
Robin Begbie – Kyokushinkai
Te Wamoana Te Rupe – Gosukuryu
Terry Hill – Goju Ryu
Norman Ng – Taekwon-Do
John Tahu (deceased) – Maori Martial Arts
Steve Kitson (deceased) – Nam Wai Pai
Andy Barber – Seido Karate

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