Journey back to my roots in New Zealand    


This trip was my fourth return visit to my homeland since my departure in 1965; previous visits were in 1974, 1985, 2000, and now 2009. Almost 10 years between each visit, so naturally many things have changed, but also many ways are the same….such as the Kiwi friendship, hospitality, & enthusiasm. The country’s beautiful landscape and climate especially during this time February-March ---school holidays over and low tourist season, meant easy travel and no accommodation problems.

This trip was rather special in Budo terms as it goes back to 1981 in Okinawa when I first met Dennis May sensei from Okinawa Goju Ryu with his New Zealand team participating in the International Tournament, it was a most pleasant meeting, and then we (Michael Söderkvist Kyokushin Karate sensei and I) left to continue our Budo Tour of Japan-Okinawa-Malaysia
no further contact happened until 2008 when I received an email from Dennis sensei to bring the circle together again, this gathered momentum resulting in the trip to New Zealand, and a
wonderful experience during 2 months, several seminars and meetings were arranged by Dennis sensei as well as travelling and accommodation, allowing my son Jonathan and I to see parts of New Zealand we had not been to before.

A special presentation at Kyoshi Dennis May 8th Dan New Zealand Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate Henderson Dojo in Auckland was held and was joined by Shihan Ken McLennan 5th Dan Kyokushin Karate and an old friend and original member of the Napier Karate Club –the first karate dojo in NZ, Ken is now 77 no longer active in karate but showed great interest in budo as always. I also met Sensei Fred Coulter 79 years – friend from the beginning of NZ karate and the Napier dojo´s oldest member Gordon Larking 97 years now and full of vigour and good health. Marvellous to meet these friends after so many years have passed.
Also in the South Island I had the opportunity to meet several other karate sensei who have contributed to development of karate in New Zealand – Shihan Renzie Hanham Seido Karate, Shihan Bob Cahill and Sensei Barry Knutson these together with the Sensei in the Auckland area – Shihan Peter Turner, Sensei Aaron Barrett, in fact all the Okinawa Goju Ryu Yudansha and students made me very welcome and showed excellent attitude and development in true Budo way.


When in Dunedin I had the opportunity together with Dennis Sensei to visit Sensei Jim Scorgie and his wife Michiko´s large deer farm, also the hospitality from Shihan Bob Cahill. Tony Crone whose son is a student of Dennis Sensei invited me to his home in Wanaka drove me from Dunedin stayed at his house for 4 days with some wonderful sightseeing in Wanaka, Jacksons Bay, Arrowtown, and Queenstown.

Finally a meeting with the Shihan-Kai Directors of the New Zealand Karate Federation – Bryan Davis Shihan Shito Ryu, Hiroshi Fujimoto Shihan Goju Kai, Dennis May Shihan Okinawa Goju Ryu, Len Monk Shihan Fushin Ryu, and Kevin Plaisted Shihan Okinawa Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu when I was honoured by the induction into the Shihan-Kai Hall of Fame as the 6th member.

The time went all too quickly after such a wonderful time together visiting my sister and husband Sal & Alg, along with several other family relations including my father’s sister Eve who is 97 yrs, with remarkably good vigour. Several other visits to old friends made this trip a most memorable one.Without being too dramatic, it should however be mentioned that this was the first time that Yoshinken/Taikiken has been introduced to New Zealand.

I suggest to all - visit Dennis sensei’s website at www.karatenz.com

Time went far too quickly as all things do when everything is so enjoyable – thank you again
Dennis Sensei & family plus all the friends I made in NZ Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate – you are not forgotten and sincerely hope we will meet soon again.


1. Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate members with Shihan Ken McLennan, Shihan Dennis May. Auckland

2. Piha beach North Island
3. Waitangi, Bay of Islands, North Island

4. A large Maori canoe, Waitangi
5. Maori Carving, Waitangi
6. Inspirational surroundings for Han zen

7. Aoraki Mt. Cook, South Island, New Zealand’s highest mountain. 3754 meters.


8. Yoshinken seminar, Auckland




14. Okinawa Goju Ryu – a wonderful young generation of karateka. Henderson Dojo Auckland


15 & 16. Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate Yudansha during Yoshinken training at Henderson Dojo, Auckland

17. Shihan Dennis May has students in all ages


18. Shihan Dennis, Shihan Bob Cahill, MM, Sensei Thanasi

19. Okinawa Goju Ryu group in the South Island

20 & 21 Visit to Mr.Alister Horn in Dunedin – a journey back to old Japan in the days of the Samurai, but in NZ. What a room!!



24. With the Shihan-Kai members of the New Zealand Karate Federation . Auckland March 2009
Left to right: Shihans Bryan Davis – Hiroshi Fujimoto – myself – Kevin Plaisred – Len Monk – Dennis May.