Ms Kazue Takeda, Teacher in Charge of Japanese at Liston College, first became involved with Japanese education in New Zealand in the mid-1990s. She worked at Palmerston North High School as a Japanese teaching assistant through Massey University Japanese Language Centre. She returned to Japan a year later and was sent to Auckland by the Japan Foundation as a Japanese Teaching Assistant. When her contract expired two years later, she was appointed as a Japanese instructor at the University of Auckland and UNITEC and obtained Permanent Residency. She has worked for secondary schools in Taupo and Auckland since and is currently working in a secondary school in West Auckland teaching Year 7 -13 students.
Ms Takeda is also involved in organising the New Zealand Schools Japanese Trivia Championship. The first New Zealand Schools Japanese Trivia Championship was organised in 2014 by the dedicated members of New Zealand Association of Japanese Language Teachers in order to create a special event for Year 7-10 Japanese learners to participate. There have been some events such as speech contest for senior students of Japanese but there was no or little opportunity for young Japanese learners to meet and interact with learners from other schools. Ms Takeda thinks the Trivia Championship is such an excellent, fruitful event for young students. The number of Japanese learners has been decreasing in New Zealand and she hopes the Trivia Championship motivates students to continue their study of the language.
Ms Takeda has had the same goal for the last 26 years, which is to be a good teacher for her students. She says this is quite a challenging goal and she is still on the way to achieve it. Fortunately, she says no matter which school she teaches at, her students are so special and delightful and she is learning from them each day, every day. Her other goal is to complete writing her webpage which she has been working on for the last 3 years to write full Japanese courses for Years 7 -13 as soon as possible.
Ms Takeda says she believes that the work she does as a Japanese teacher is to contribute to world peace. She would like to teach her students the importance of acceptance, respect and understanding for each other by teaching about different values, culture and language.