Mr Stephen Duxfield, President of the New Zealand Japan Society of Auckland

The New Zealand Japan Society of Auckland was founded in 1960 with the aim of being a bridge between Japan and New Zealand. The main goals of the society are promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries, keeping close contact with Japanese individuals and organizations, and promoting cultural exchanges and learning about Japanese culture.

The Society currently has about 100 members and holds the Taste of Japan Festival in Auckland every two years. Last year the event was held as Fukuoka Day (Taste of Japan) as part of the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of sister city exchange between two cities, Auckland and Fukuoka. In addition, the NZJS carries out activities to promote Japanese language to the public, including Japanese evening classes of various levels and the long-standing English/Japanese “Tsudoi” conversation evenings. They also organise a Haiku and Shodo contest aimed at high-school students. Members of NZJS also run the Japanese Taiko drumming group "Haere Mai Taiko”, which began in 2004 and a Japanese tea ceremony group, Aoteakai. These achievements and others were recognized in 2016 when Mr Duxfield received a decoration “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” from Japan.

Stephen Duxfield, President of the New Zealand Japan Society of Auckland (NZJS), first became interested in Japan when he went to Japan in 1994, and joined the society in the same year. In 1998 he became the president of NZJS, and he has since served as President and Vice President.

Mr. Duxfield is very passionate about sports, in particular running. Participating in the Rotorua Ekiden, held in Rotorua every year since 2003, he has organised many ekiden relay teams and enjoys the friendly rivalry established between NZJS and Auckland JET Alumni and other participants.  In 2016 he ran the Fukuoka City marathon and has entered the World Masters Games to be held in Auckland in April 2017. He says his future goal is “to remain competitive in his age grade and to run one marathon each year”.

Regarding the NZJS activities, Mr Duxfield says, “The Society provides various chances for people with similar Japan or New Zealand related passions and interests to meet, relate and learn together. This is achieved through events, workshops, classes and various other group activities. Annual subscriptions are kept to a minimum and all are welcome”.