The services of a Massey University staff member who has supported teachers and students of the Japanese language throughout New Zealand for more than two decades have been acknowledged by the Japanese ambassador to New Zealand.
For the past 23 years programme coordinator Naomi Collins has been involved in the delivery of the Sasakawa Fellowship Fund for Japanese Language Education, a national programme set up in the late 1990s to support teachers and students of Japanese at all levels and across institutions. The funding comes from Japan but it is chaired and co-ordinated by Massey University.
Ms Collins administers the Sasakawa Japanese Language Education Programme that promotes the study of Japanese language in New Zealand through a range of scholarships, workshops for teachers and resource development and the Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund, which provides scholarships for New Zealand Masters and PhD students in social sciences and humanities.
Ambassador Toshihisa Takata presented her with the award at his residence in Wellington late last month for services to Japanese language education in New Zealand, her support of Japanese language teachers in New Zealand and her tireless efforts to raise awareness of the value of a second language.
Ms Collins says: “It was a great honour to be recognised in this way through the award. Yes I have worked hard, but I’m the lucky one - not everyone gets to work in an area they love and with a message they believe in so strongly. It can be an uphill battle of course in New Zealand where the immense value of speaking a second language is not widely appreciated. But things are changing – watch this space”.
Massey University’s Japanese language programme launched in 1964, making it New Zealand’s longest serving University programme.