“While I was working at Te Ora Hou in 2010, running boys clubs, one of the young guys, Jimmy Waipouri, was nagging me to do some MMA training with him. After 2 years I decided to do some training with some young guys after our Next Level Bible Studies.
In 2012, we started in Terry Watts backyard. After a while, I felt the MMA training was taking away from the Bible Study times so we decided to start doing training early in the mornings before school.
I started with Talor Wetere and Jimmy Waipouri. I started picking them up around 5am to train before school and then it quickly grew to about 9 boys I was picking up. We were just meeting at The Pulse in a room with just carpet, no mats.
From there, we slowly started to obtain some equipment and borrow mats and continued to meet in the youth room at The Pulse for about a year.
After about a year, we moved into our first building on Bank St/Water St. Before moving in, several young guys came onboard and we saw the potential to reach young people and provide positive mentoring and role modeling, especially for young Maori boys whom might be influenced by the gang scene. We wanted to show them you can be tough and be a humble man and also show them what a real man looks like.
In March 2013, we decided to form the board of Lions Den and incorporate into a full charity.
7 of us made up the board for The Lion’s Den Ministries Charity. We were all youth workers and funded the rent out of our pockets for a time. After a little while, Te Ora Hou came on board and helped to fund The Lion’s Den as well.
Soon after, we begin to really see the potential of The Lion’s Den as it was growing. We prayed and I decided to leave Te Ora Hou and pursue The Lion’s Den full time along with Talor Wetere and Joe Spiers. It was a step of faith for each one of us.
We moved to our current location on Rathbone St above Esquires Coffee in October 2013, and soon after, we started the Mum’s class and the Junior Youth classes.
We are excited at what God has done with The Lion’s Den so far and are excited to see what He will do with it in the future!”
Head Coach & Founder of Lion’s Den Ministries