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Aikido was first established in New Zealand by David LYNCH and his wife, Hisae, in 1965. The first classes were held in Auckland and a Yoshinkai Aikido Institute was opened in November 1967. Lynch arranged the first visit of Japanese teachers Takashi KUSHIDA, Kyoichi INOUE, and Masao Ogawa from the YOSHINKAN AIKIDO Hombu Dojo in Tokyo in 1972. Lynch later organized a visit by Koichi TOHEI for demonstrations of SHINSHIN TOITSU AIKIDO. In 1973, he returned to Japan and passed over the Auckland Yoshinkan dojo to his top student, Eddie Wong, who continues to operate the school.

Nobuo TAKASE arrived in the late 1960s and in the late 1970s was appointed representative of the AIKIKAI HOMBU DOJO. Since that time, Aikikai shihan have made regular visits to New Zealand. Takase operates the Shinryukan Dojo in Auckland.

Ron Russell arrived in New Zealand in 1978 after many years of training with the Institute of Aikido (U. K. ) and began teaching in 1981. He now runs the Kyushindo Dojo in Auckland which is affiliated with the Institute of Aikido. A more recent arrival is Jun'ichi Nishimura from Osaka who set up an independent dojo in Auckland in 1987. Keith Hartley spent several months in IWAMA c. 1980 as an UCHIDESHI and established an IWAMA-STYLE dojo in Whangarei on his return. Hartley has made several other trips to Japan.

In 1988, Lynch returned to Auckland after 15 years in Japan during which time he trained at various dojos receiving dan grades from each. He opened the Lynch Dojo which operates independently of Japanese organizations and does not award dan rankings.

Since aikido was established in New Zealand in 1965, a number of well-known teachers have visited. Besides Tohei mentioned above, the list includes Shin'ichi SUZUKI, Morihiro SAITO, Moriteru UESHIBA, Seijuro MASUDA, Seishiro ENDO, and Iwagaki.

As of 1990, there are approximately 20 aikido schools in New Zealand concentrated in Auckland, but also located in Wellington, Christchurch, Whangarei, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Taupo, Tauranga, Gisborne, Whakatane, Motucka and Whitianga. The total aikido population of New Zealand is about 500.