Poneke Dojo

The Poneke Dojo was founded in 1999 with the vision create a happy, friendly club where lots of people, young and old, could enjoy Kyokushin.

We wanted the club to work equally well for busy professionals, kids of all ages and our high performing international competitors.

Several years on the club has evolved into a diverse community. Just like the vision we now offer a variety of classes for a variety of life stages, skill levels and goals.   The club is represented Nationally and Internationally by a large team of competitors who are achieving great results / are a dominant force here and in Australia.

An incorporated society, the club is effectively managed by a strong committee and maintained by a veritable army of volunteers.

Our international connections have always been important to us and these couldn’t be stronger with our Dojo Head, Chris Gower being a representative of the International Kyokushinkarate Organisation (IKO). Chris is one of only two IKO Branch Chiefs in New Zealand.


Sensei Chris Gower, 5th Dan


Sensei Chris has lived and breathed Kyokushin for almost 40 years. He is a fighter and held the NZ title in his weight category for 7 years, represented NZ many times, including at the prestigious World Open Karate Tournament in Tokyo in 1995. In 2005 Chris won the World Heavyweight title for men aged 35-40, the first Kyokushin World Title ever held by a Kiwi!

Chris has travelled to Japan to train or compete more times than he can remember. He lived the hard road as an early foreigner in Japan, training under the late Sosai Oyama at Tokyo Honbu and being among the few foreigners at the time to be permitted to fight in the All Japan National Tournament. He met the current international director of Kyokushin, Kancho Matsui Shokei in Tokyo just before he became World Champion and hosted him in NZ for a month of training.

Shihan Chris has invaluable personal experience but he is continually seeking new answers and continually drawing on resources offered by the international group or wherever else he can. He is one of the highest graded Kyokushin exponents in NZ and is now absolutely committed to bringing on a new generation to protect the longevity of Kyokushin in Wellington and New Zealand.

Chris completed a 50 man kumite to grade to 5th dan under Tokyo Honbu representative, Shihan Honmer, in early 2008.

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