The Imperial Romans of NZ
Who are we? We're a group of good friends devoted to Roman Living History displays. Our members are from all walks of life. Many are skilled in engineering, metal working, blacksmithing, armory, and handicrafts. Some have degrees in Ancient History, Classics, Latin and Archaeology. Most are interested in the performing arts, or martial arts and sword fighting. Together we have a wide range of talents to form an effective team that really enjoys both educating and entertaining the public. This page helps to introduce us, and put a public face to our club.
IN MEMORIAM: Brett Clark (Brutus) - was club captain, holds a BA (Hons) in Ancient History and Classics from Auckland University, marched with the legions in Rome, and built a Roman temple in his backyard.
Jae Sung Park (Lucius Licinius Lucullus) - our Tesserarius, holds an MA in Ancient History from Auckland University. He leads the younger members, and fights as both legionary and gladiator, with mastery over a range of weapons including sword, spear, bow, sling, and ax. His fabricae workshops in leather and metalwork include slings, tunics, woven belts, bows, and balteus.
David Layzell (Titus Flavius Josephus) is a Science teacher and specialist in genetics and human evolution. He speaks Hindi and provides annual volunteer scientific educational aid to India. He fights as a hoplomachus gladiator (Decebalus the Dacian) and practices Italian longsword fighting.
Darren White (Marcus Albus Britannicus) is our Club Captain. Head of Classics at an Auckland college, and an expert in Roman and Greek history, literature and philosophy. He had a lead role in Netflix Roman Empire 2, which was filmed in NZ using club members as Romans, and from that success has since gained more starring tv roles.
Elen Rogers designs her own range of Ellie's Jewellery that can be custom-made to your order. She is a noble matrona and Roman domina that helps run the camp, support the troops and records the shows. Many of the videos seen on this site have to be credited as Ellie's work.
Daniel Dale has marched with the legion for years, acted as an archer firing arrows at the advancing vallum shield-wall of Rome's soldiers, and also fights as a gladiator.
David Mackenzie is ex-Ermine Street Guard, and a knowledgeable scholar on ancient Rome who has constructed high-quality model triremes displayed in sea battle.
Kirstin Jones plays a noble Roman matron of Civitas Romana, our civilian Romans, and is a valued family member along with her son Nathan.
Nathan Jones is our youngest member of Civitas Romana, civilian Romans, and keen student of all things Roman. He has his own legionary equipment and hopes one day to fight for Leg VI.
Matthew Poehler (Oskar) fighting in the gladiatorial arena as Caesar, a giant Roman legionary reenacting the defeat of Vercingetorix. Shown here having his helmet knocked off his head and flying through the air beside his shield!
Victor Rosendale (Lucius Antoninus) - vice captain, holds a MA in Ancient History from Auckland University. He fights as Lucius the Damned, a giant murmillo gladiator, and competes in international full contact HMB (Historical Medieval Combat) with heavy weapons representing New Zealand.
Jason Saunders (Tiberius Lupus Gracchus) our signifer standard-bearer is qualified in special FX for movies and does much of our art work, and makes our military standards to world-class levels. He also plays a gladiator (Amam the Egyptian). His Roman work is displayed at the House of Tiberius and his Egyptian art at Thutmose III
Clinton Smith (Pilosus Pecus) is an expert in mixing alcohols (a fine Roman tradition). He is one of the more intimidating fighters in the legion, and is training for victory in the gladiatorial arena.
Daniel Balderrama (Gaius Terentius Varro) is a Classics student with an encyclopedic knowledge of Roman history akin to Pliny the Elder. Seen here in the Queen St Santa Parade with an admirer trying to punch her way through his shield - but the line held!
Keith Gerald Mudgway (Pinguis Sus) is a very experienced Roman legionary, archer and sword fighter.
He fights in the Roman arena as the infamous villian gladiator Pinguis Sus - the "Fat Pig" Secutor - and is a real crowd favourite.
Alexander James Holloway (Alex) - an associate member - runs the NZ Stage Combat School and is a Fight Choreographer who has helped train our gladiators. We work together on many public events that include activities like archery, axe-throwing, and fire-sword displays. He runs fight choreography for the Shakespeare plays at the Pop-up Globe Theatre Company and has received rave reviews for his work.
Dominic Perry is an expert in Egyptian history and author of the History of Egypt Podcast that tells the story of Aegyptus from the creation until the Fall of Rome. You can also chat on his History of Egypt facebook page about all the latest research and news. Highly recommended!
Jeremy Lowe is currently completing a BA in Ancient History at Auckland University, and is the type of good solid legionary that forms the backbone of Rome's army.
William Dale is a longtime legionary and archer who often helps run the children's activities ("Shoot the barbarian with the manu-ballista"), and likes swinging a gladius in battle.
Darin Daisley fights in the gladiatorial arena as the giant Gaul Vercingetorix, a dimachaerus with two swords, and a stolen Roman dolabra in his belt!
Donk Tapsell is an experienced HMB fighter, seen here in the gladiatorial arena being blessed by a Priestess of Fortuna before his bout. The Roman combat shields are tested for strength against his charge, and generally rated as safe up to 2 Donk.
Peter Rogers (Lucius Petronius Longus) - our Centurion and chief Gladiator trainer. He is an engineer and smith who makes our Gladiator helms and armour. He fights in all gladiatorial styles, but often as a retiarius with net and trident, or scissor with a blood spurting blade!
Martin Layzell (Marius Petronius Dacius) is ex-NZ Territorial army and has an interest in most things military, especially WWI. Over the last 13 years, Martin has been in 3 Roman army groups as both Optio and acting Centurion. He and his sparring partner Peter Rogers were the 3rd & 4th graduates of the NZ Gladiator School. Fighting as Glaucus the Grey, he has displayed as a retiarius, hoplomachus and thraex. He enjoys the discipline and organisation of the Roman army.
Lisa Clark (Julia Flavia) has a MA in Archaeology and Anthropology (ALM 1991) from Harvard University.
Our Domina is also our much loved mater castrorum (camp mother) who works tirelessly to organise events, prepare Roman feasts, shoot nice photography, and as a registered nurse help any hurts.
Lachlan Matheson marches under the eagle as an auxiliary soldier in chain mail with spear, and fights in all gladiator styles. Aggression is his middle name.
Dianne Layzell provides photography, video, logistical support and cucumber sandwiches (it's true!!!).
Brent Ruijne (Brenticus) has been a Roman re-enactor for over 15 years and featured on the front cover of the NZ Herald's Canvas magazine in 2006 (above). He has a wealth of knowledge on all things Roman.
Darren Green fights as a secutor gladiator, Darius of Gaul, in the Roman arena. A formidably skilled fighter, he also has the strength, endurance and sheer bloody-minded determination to run the New Plymouth half-marathon while wearing the added weight of full Roman armor as pictured above!
Robert Keam is currently studying at Auckland University and has an impressive command of the Latin language.
Byron Clark has marched with the legions to commemorate the foundation of Rome in 753 BC, and acted as gladius instructor teaching the students proper sword play at Auckland secondary school displays.
Preston Bracefield fights as a Roman legionary, but is also training in all forms of ancient weaponry including spear and ax, in preparation to be a champion of the gladiatorial arena.
Rus El is a professional photographer and film maker who records our events, and a talented natural sword fighter. He has traveled to all corners of the Earth photographing dangerous hot spots, and will next be shooting in Afghanistan (with a camera!). Check out his work here.
Jason Alan Edgecombe is an experienced fighter in all styles of combat, seen here kitting up for the gladiatorial arena as the heavily armored invincible crupellarius who can defeat two barbarians at a time.