Massey Japanese programme coordinator Dr Penny Shino, Japanese Ambassador Yasuaki Nogawa,
Sue Fuller and School of Humanities head Associate Professor Kerry Taylor

Distance student wins Japanese Ambassador’s Prize

Japanese Ambassador Yasuaki Nogawa presented Nelson student Sue Fuller with the Ambassador’s Prize in Japanese at a ceremony last week.
The prize is awarded to the top student in core 300-level Japanese language papers at Massey University. This year marks the inaugural award of the prize.

Miss Fuller, from Nelson, is a distance student finishing a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Japanese and Sociology. She works full-time as an Air New Zealand flight attendant while completing up to five papers each year, and hopes to graduate next year.

Miss Fuller says after holidays in Japan and a year teaching English in Tokushima on Shikoku Island she feels a connection to the country and its people. “It feels like a second home to me in many ways.”

Learning to speak and write the language is fun. “The language itself is reasonably logical and pretty easy to pronounce. The writing system is another story, but it’s fun learning more and more characters. It’s just nice to be able to communicate with people in their own language.”

The award ceremony held at the Japanese Embassy on Thursday was attended by members of Miss Fuller’s family, Japan Information and Cultural Centre director Mr T Ato and Massey School of Humanities head Associate Professor Kerry Taylor and Dr Penny Shino, the Japanese programme co-ordinator.

“We all feel very proud of Sue and her fantastic achievements," Dr Shino says. “She totally deserves the award for her commitment and discipline, and we hope her fellow students will see her as a fine role model.

"She can be counted as one of Massey’s distance education success stories, who has overcome many hurdles to learn Japanese at a distance. She shows that it is achievable and that there are rewards for those who persist, which is in fact a very Japanese message.”  

Japanese is taught at the Palmerston North and Albany campuses and at distance, in the School of Humanities, which is also home to Chinese, Spanish and French language and culture programmes.

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