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HPD History

Wrestling Riot 1961

In the early sixties, professional wrestling was a popular form of entertainment in Honolulu. Many people attended the wrestling events held at the old Civic Auditorium which was formerly located on King Street.

Much like today's wrestling, wrestlers back then were pitched as either good or bad guys. Die hard wrestling fans took professional wrestling very seriously and the passion they felt came to a head one evening in 1961.

The wrestling match was against Curtis "the bull" Iaukea and Neff Maiava who was a very popular wrestler at the time. Neff Maiava lost the match setting off a spark that turned into a blaze among his fans watching the match that evening. It wasn't long before the incident turned into a civil disturbance and rioting took over.

Honolulu Police officers were called to respond to help subdue the rioting. During the intervention 4 officers were injured one was injured when a brick was thrown at the officer's head. At the end of the riot 8 violators were arrested and the culprit who threw the brick was arrested for the felony. No one was seriously injured and wrestling maintained its popularity in Honolulu. Ironically, Curtis "the bull" Iaukea was the son of a Honolulu Police Department Inspector.

Story and photos courtesy of retired Assistant Chief Joe Aveiro.