Faces of Note

Patrick Toner SenseiPatrick Toner Sensei

Pat Sensei was born on 20 April 1930 in Gillingham, Kent, in England. He often jokingly cites the fact he shares this birth date with both Hitler and Napoleon. Laconic by nature, and not one to name drop, the fact remains that Patrick has in his time trained under some of the greats of Japanese martial arts. Patrick was captain of the New Zealand Judo team in 1966, and training partner for Rick Littlewood during Rick’s build up to the 1972 Olympics. He was inducted into the New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2000 along with Rick Littlewood, his close friend of many years. His contribution to New Zealand Judo was recognised with his promotion to 7th Dan in 2008. In 2009 he was awarded a life membership of the NZJF. Patrick has Life Membership status at the Wellington Judo Academy in recognition of his sacrifice and contribution to the club.

Terence Oconnor SenseiTerry O’Connor Sensei

A contemporary of Patrick Toner, Terry was born 1938. He began Judo in 1965, introduced by his neighbour, at a club in Birkenhead, Auckland, led by Doug Day. After moving to Wellington for work he began attending John Hanstra’s club in John’s double garage in Miramar. Terry achieved both Ni Dan in Judo and Sho Dan in Jujitsu. Along with his business partner Dave Lowe, Terry for a period supported the club financially, enabling it to survive. Terry visited the Kodokan more than ten times to train, often with Partick and Rick Littlewood. Terry has Life Membership status at the Wellington Judo Academy in recognition of his sacrifice and contribution to the club.

John HanstraJohn Hanstra

John Hanstra played a crucial role in the development of our club. A strong junior club met in a dojo running from John’s double garage in Miramar. John also saw the introduction of Jujitsu which rapidly grew the seniors’ numbers at the time. This meant we quickly outgrew the double garage, prompting the move to College Street. A charismatic character, John still pops in from time to time.

Kevin HartKevin Hart

Kevin has been involved in the Academy for many years. Despite often living and traveling away from Wellington, his input and leadership has long guided the Academy and remains today. Kevin is currently the Academy’s Vice President and he contributes to the strategic aspects of the Academy. Kevin has Life Membership status at the Wellington Judo Academy in recognition of his sacrifice and contribution to the club.

Cameron Clarke

Cameron is currently the man you will see everyday on the mat. As head instructor he is on the mat at nearly every class and provides much of the teaching input and direction. By day Cameron is a school teacher. Coming from a history of other martial arts before Judo, he then grew with the Academy alongside Kevin and John.

Wendy van Der Molan

Wendy has been around the club for many years. Starting in Dunedin with Brian Cloynes, she then moved Wellington, training with John Hanstra. She is a blue belt herself and has  competed at Oceanias. Both Wendy’s sons have grown up in the club and are now brown and black belts. Wendy runs the junior classes with Cameron, handles all the competition entries, and is generally a regular caring presence around the mat.