A pub in Hamilton played host to a serious sporting competition this afternoon - the national arm-wrestling championships.
Some of the battles are over pretty quickly, especially for those who come up against Maateiwarangi Heta-Morris, with many fans turning out to watch “The Beast” unleash.
Heta-morris, AKA “The Beast”, is an eight-time national arm wrestling champion and today the 160 kilogram unit smashed his way to yet another heavy-weight title.
His road to the top hasn’t been an easy one, with his first foray into arm wrestling taking place on the schoolground for some loose change.
"I was always doing the odd arm wrestles at school on the rubbish bins and stuff, it was actually for the coins in our pockets,” he said
That spiralled to more impromptu arm-wrestling matchups, this time at bars and wrestling for drinks, a time that Heta-Morris describes as a dark time in his life.
"Then I thought oh yeah lets arm wrestle for some jugs and stuff then started wrestling for drinks and that was a rough stage of my life."
He broke that vicious cycle however, going from Rotorua pubs to the ultimate stage and now ranking in the global top 10.
Heta-Morris says his arm-wrestling persona is a by-product of his tough journey.
“When I’m competing for me, I bring 'The Beast' out and that’s what I do. I bring out all the yuckiness from my past and all the hurt, and I try and channel it and in that respect that’s 'The Beast,”” he said.
A beast not just in arm wrestling but now in bench press too, having just last week set a new national record of 260.5 kilograms.
His strength coach Daniel Rudolph says 'The Beast' is also present during his weightlifting training.
“You watch the way he prepares himself the same in powerlifting. He’s just an animal inside waiting to be released,” Rudolph said.