Hakaraia Wilson stays grounded while aiming big

By James Perry

Hakaraia Wilson, of Ngāti Whakaue and Tūhoe has again taken a national BJJ title at the NZ Grappler Nationals yesterday. He is a grappler with eyes on the big time, but also not forgetting his Māori roots.

Wilson was barely troubled in his 88kg, Blue belt division at the NZ Grappler nationals in Auckland. 

Keeping in touch with his Māori culture maybe the secret behind his success. He says he sends a prayer to Tūmātauenga, Māori god of war and combat to help give him strength as well as clearing the mind. 

There are many Māori who are taking up many various fighting and combat sports, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Wilson believes that combat is something Māori have inherited from generations gone by. The quick thinking required, not to mention speedy leg movements have provided him with a strong foundation.

In recent months Wilson had an opportunity to participate in a training camp in San Diego, where he got the chance to rub shoulders with fighters from around the world. What he learned wasn't so much different from what he learned here, however he did realise that for many of those fighters, it is their job, and therefore something they do day in day out.

And it is no surprise that Wilson is also thinking that way as well. He says he would like to one day become a professional fighter in the ranks of the likes of UFC. He hopes to one day become the number one fighter in both BJJ and Mixed Martial Arts. 

The 20 year old originally from Rotorua says BJJ is the first thing he thinks of when he wakes up in the morning, not much outside of the gym worries him too much.

With the assistance of Tūmātauenga, Hakaraia Wilson may yet achieve that what he wants most.