pROF dAVE MILLAR 1954-2020

Saddly and suddenly on the 22nd of May 2020 Prof Dave Milar passed away whilst residing in Australia.

His dedication to the arts was incredible, spanning over 45yrs in Jiujitsu.

Professor Dave's training started out at the Longburn freezing works in 1979 with Grand Master Professor Steve Heremaia . Training was hard in those early days running from Palmerston North to training after work then training brutally on the concrete floor before running home again. His dedication forged an unbreakable bond between him and his teacher, one that would stand the test of time.

During his martial arts career he would host, attend, ref, judge and coach many NZ tournaments, even creating NZ representatives in Jiujitsu.

However, his greatest competitive achievement was to represent New Zealand as a member of the first New Zealand Ju Jitsu Team to compete at the first World Council of Jiu Jitsu Organisations championships held in Onatario Canada in 1984. He proudly wore his silver fern and returned home with 3rd place medal and formed many international friends along the way.

In the early 80s Professor Dave worked in over 130 NZ schools teaching Black Dragons self defence and introducing Jiujitsu and martial arts to the youth, many of whom still attribute his efforts to their successful starts in the martial arts.

Many years later he would branch away from his teacher and with his blessing he created New Zealand JiuJitsu Lifeskills and opened schools in Fielding, Marton, Hunterville, Whanganui, Danniverke Taupo and Bulls. Prof Dave would go on to produce 11 Blackbelts and teach 1000s more students.

In 1997 he co founded the New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame (NZMAHOF), a biennial event that saw dedicated Martial artists from all over New Zealand given the recognition they deserved no matter the style or system.

Dave's dedication and skill has been acknowledged internationally for all his work with Jiu Jitsu and in 1988 he was awarded Certificate of Recognition from the American Jiu Jitsu Association for his outstanding service in furthering the art. In 1991 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Jiu Jitsu Association by the then President/Founder Professor Ron Forester.

Professor Dave was elected NZMAHOF President in 1997 and remained in that role until his passing. In 2000 he was inducted by his peers for his own dedication and hard work to the Arts, then in 2002 inducted into the Australasian Martial Arts Hall Of Fame and the World Karate Union.

He worked as technical director to many organizations throughout the years with martial artists from NZ and Australia, including the New Zealand Jiu Jitsu Academy, relying on his vast depth of experience and knowledge to help guide them.

Dave Millar held the title of Professor and the grade of 8th Dan Ju Jitsu awarded by Steve Heremaia (10th Dan), with an outstanding 45years in martial arts.

He leaves the lasting legacies of the New Zealand Martial Arts Hall Of Fame and New Zealand Jiu Jitsu Life Skills and a had a profound impact on those that knew him.


Sensei John Ratima passed away suddenly and unexpectantly on 21st February 2022.

Sensei John (Alo) started Jiu Jitsu in 1998 with Professor Dave Millar at the Campbell Street Jiu Jitsu Life skills Dojo in Whanganui before moving to the Marton Dojo and eventually training out of the Whanganui Judo clubs Dojo in Taupo Quay, whilst continuing to travel to the Feilding H under Prof Dave .

Sensei John was a 3rd Dan under Jiu Jitsu Lifeskills NZ and also moved to NZJJACADEMY with Sensei Shanon. Sensei John continued to have a valued role as instructor until his health prevented his return.

Sensei will be remembered for his soft easy going approach and kind heart.


Koro William was a mighty Kauri tree in the Jiu Jitsu Life Skills family.

Sensei William Green started Jiujitsu in his mid 80s after serving many years in Karate.

His presence in the dojo was a reminder that age is no barrier and no excuse for laziness.

Koro William was always an active person, and as a retired serviceman in the New Zealand Navy, Koro was always staying in shape.

Koro William was awarded his honorary Black Belt for his outstanding service to Martial Arts by a panel of Black Belts led by Professor Dave Millar.