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Canterbury students chosen to accompany PM to Japan

Canterbury students chosen to accompany Prime Minister to Japan

Eleven Canterbury secondary school students are about to have their hard work studying Japanese rewarded by a trip to Japan – accompanying Prime Minister John Key.

The students, who represent 11 schools, have been chosen to travel to Tokyo and Sendai this week as part of the prime ministerial delegation. They will meet with high school students from Sendai, which was affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. They will be invited to share their experiences from 2011 – and their visions for the future - with their Japanese counterparts.

The group will leave Christchurch on the evening of Wednesday 5 September and return on Thursday 13 September. Their trip is jointly funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Asia New Zealand Foundation (Asia:NZ).

The schools represented all belong to Asia:NZ’s Principals’ Asia Aware Network, which supports principals who want to give their students the knowledge and skills to engage effectively with Asia in the future.

The students are: Ashley Bamber of Rangiora High School (year 13); Peter Spargo of Darfield High School (year 11); Edward McLean of Linwood College (year 12); Jeremy Aitken of Riccarton High School (year 12); Kesaia Edwards of Lincoln High School (year 12); Mitchell Tapp of Burnside High School (year 11); Morgan Moore of Avonside Girls’ High School (year 12); Jung Yun Kim of Marian College (year 12); Min Gyu (Patric) Song of Christ’s College (year 12); Georgina Martin of St Andrew’s College (year 12); and Jackson Olds of Christchurch Boys’ High School (year 11).

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The students will be accompanied by Avonside Girls’ High School teacher Leanne Everingham - who has 20 years’ experience teaching Japanese in Christchurch - and by Asia New Zealand Foundation director of business James Penn, a fluent Japanese speaker.

While in Sendai, the students will stay with host families to deepen their understanding of Japanese culture and language. They will also visit areas devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and meet New Zealanders living in Sendai and other parts of Miyagi prefecture.

2012 marks the 60th year of formal diplomatic ties between Japan and New Zealand, and thousands of students from both countries have participated in educational exchanges over the years. Japanese is the most commonly studied Asian language in New Zealand schools, with Ministry of Education figures showing 14,398 secondary students were studying it in 2011.

The Asia New Zealand Foundation (Asia:NZ) is a non-profit, non-political organisation dedicated to building New Zealand’s links with Asia through a range of programmes including business, culture, education, research and the media.


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