Coaches & Instructors

At CORE MMA we are lucky to have a diverse and experienced coaching team, surrounded by senior students who fully support the team and act as additional trainers.

We promote growth in all areas, and often host seminars with local & international specialists in order to bring fresh techniques & ideas to the training table.



Carlo Meister

With Blackbelts in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & Karate, Carlo has an equal appreciation of both grappling and striking. Learn more

Joesef Hamblin

Joesef reached the coveted rank of BJJ Blackbelt in remarkably short time, and has won No-Gi Gold at the Gracie Worlds in Los Angeles. Learn more

Chris Heke

Chris is known as one of the academies two 'mad professors', a very technical grappler - but never one to ignore the importance of solid fundamentals. Learn more

Ezra Berghan

Group fitness coach and the Beatdown IV Champion. Ezra has always taken an interest to physical improvement in its many forms. Learn more

Mike Gault

Former coach at Elite Thai Kickboxing before opening his own branch, Mike joined CORE MMA as Muay Thai & Kickboxing Coach. Learn more

Kodee Ngatai

Muay Thai Trainer and Team Downs Gym founder. Kodee believes in applying sound scientific principles to Muay Thai. Learn more

Toby FitzPatrick

Toby is an excellent wrestler with international rankings, and has extensive skills in freestyle and submission wrestling as well as MMA. Learn more

Carl Houben

Carl absolutely loves teaching Beginners and Kids classes and has a real passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Learn more

Marc Lelievre

NZ representative for the IMMAF Amateur World Championships 2016 in Las Vegas, Shuriken & XFC Australia Champion. Learn more

Tiago Santa Ritta

Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blackbelt (2nd Degree) & NZ Grappler National Champion Learn more

Nepia Mahuika

Dr Nepia Mahuika is our other resident Brownbelt 'mad professor' of BJJ - as well as being a lecturer in History at the University of Waikato. Learn more

Mike Ryan

Mike is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purplebelt and one of our Kids & Beginners BJJ coaches. He really enjoys seeing personal progress through BJJ. Learn more

Alexander Kalnins

Alexander is a BJJ & Judo practitioner, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Brownbelt and a frequent Masters division competitor on the NZ BJJ scene. Learn more

Frank Jarrett

In early 2015, Frank won the "Road to Vegas" Lightweight tournament to find an NZ rep for the IMMAF Amateur World Championships in Las Vegas. Learn more

Ryan Johns

Ryan is the first to have graduated from both of our Youth MMA and Colts MMA programme to later become a staple member of our competition team. Learn more

Jojo Walsh

Jojo began training in powerlifting and weightlifting in 2013 and began BJJ whilst living in the United States in 2016. Learn more

Michelle Montague

IMMAF World Champion 2019, Oceania Wrestling Champion and future Women's MMA superstar. Learn more

Federico Leoni

Rico's specialties include Calisthenics, Weightlifting and Gymnastics. He focuses on strength, flexibility and unlocking new ranges of movement. Learn more