Haku is happy his children followed him into the wrestling business and found success.
Haku has three children that work for New Japan Pro Wrestling; Tama Tonga, Tonga Loa and Hikeluo. Haku appeared on VOC Nation’s In The Room podcast where he said he was proud when his children came back from college and told him they wanted to get into the business.
“I’m grateful,” Haku said. “Every father is grateful to see their children become successful, whatever it is (they may do). Something that I worked hard on was that I let them know I would love for them to go to college. I didn’t have the education, so I wanted them to have the education. Both me and my wife agreed on that. I’m glad that they did well and came back from college and told me they wanted to be wrestlers. I’m proud of them.”
Haku had two stints in WWE, then called WWF, and one stint in WCW. During his time as an active competitor, he was known as one of the legitimately toughest men in wrestling. In the ring, he was a solid midcard act working mostly in tag teams and factions. He was last seen in NJPW, teaming with his children.
Haku has left wrestling, now working in the auto industry. Haku said it never bothered him that he wasn’t a regular in the main event.
“It never bothered me,” he said. “I did my part, and they gave me whatever they wanted to give me and I ran with it. I have no regrets looking back or anything. I always believe that there is a reason for everything that happens, and (me being at the top of the card) didn’t happen.”
Haku had many memorable teams, including as one half of The Islanders with Tama and as a part of the Dungeon Of Doom in WCW. He said while he never picked his partners, he always wanted to have their back.
“It was always the office who bring me my partners,” he said. “(I liked) all of them. It’s not an easy thing to have partners. To have somebody to rely on you, to believe in you, and you have someone to believe in, I want them to believe in me. I want my partner(s) to believe that I’m always right behind them to protect them. We’re a team. There was no favorites, they’re all the same to me. It just happens that some of them were championship (teams) and some of them (weren’t).”
Haku’s most memorable team might have been his team with Andre The Giant, being billed as “The Colossal Connection.” He said he respected Andre.
“With Andre, I respected him and it was an honor to be his partner,” he said. “I remember asking him when we won the belt, it was my responsibility to take care of the belt and carry it, he turned around and said, ‘Don’t worry, everything will be alright. Just carry your belt and I have mine.’ And he did. He always carried his belt in his bag.”
Andre was known for his generosity and busy night life outside of the ring just as much as his work inside of it. Haku noted the big man’s mentality, saying Andre thought he was just like everyone else.
“(Andre thought) he was the same as you; he never thought that he was bigger,” he said. “If he drank 16 beers, you had to drink 16 beers with him. If he drank two or three cases, you had to drink two or three cases with him. There were so many times I had to find the door on the way back to my room; he thought it was funny.
“Before coming into WWF, we met in different places, the NWA days and all that stuff. We met again in Hawaii, we worked for Chief Peter Maivia, so we knew each other before they put us together in WWF. It was fun to be around him, and it was fun to be in the ring with him.”
Haku tagged with Andre during the latter’s final run at the top of WWF. The pair won the tag team championships in December 1989, holding the belts all the way until WrestleMania 6. He said teaming with Andre at WrestleMania 6 is something he will never forget.
“I remember the last time that we were together in Toronto for Wrestlemania 6. It was unbelievable. My whole family was there and it was a great WrestleMania for me. I appreciate everything about wrestling more now than when I was in (it). You get to see from outside in nowadays.”
Haku’s career spanned five decades. He made his wrestling debut in 1978, and last appeared in NJPW in 2018. Haku said modern locker rooms and WCW’s locker room were different than WWF’s locker room during his first run.
“WWF is different from WWE and WCW because of all the talents that were there,” he said. “The way that (the) old timers grew up together in WWF ? and then when we went to WCW, most of us were still there. Then coming back to WWE, it was different. The new generation started showing up, and it was different in the dressing room all the way around.”
You can listen to Haku’s entire interview on the In The Room podcast below.