Who We Are

Auckland JETAA is made up of past and current participants of the JET programme.

Following is a list of the executive committee members for 2017. Officers are elected usually for a 1 year period at the annual AGM held each year in February.

President – Michaela Hickey
Vice President – Amelia Sirimanne
Secretary – Katie Malone
Treasurer – Jo Rogers
Newsletter Editors – Natalie Nagai-Ford & Kimberley Rothville
Education Officer – Natalie Nagai-Ford
Returnees Officer – Loma Berge
Liason Officer – Natalie Chambers
Webmasters – Simon Page & Krystal Lynes
Social Media Officer – Kimberley Rothville & Jo McCarthy
Friends of the Committee – Jenni Pulman, Alex Lin, Bennett Ky, Shelley Butt, Sonia Gallagher, Teresa Ahloo, Justin Jones, Rose Murphy, Natalie Crane

President: Michaela Hickey

Hi everyone! I’m Michaela, the new President for JETAA Auckland. I was in Akita Prefecture 2014-2015. I loved my time over there and miss it every day. I especially miss the people, food and onsens in the snow. I’m currently completing my Masters in International Relations, something completely sparked by my time on the JET Programme. I got so much out of my time in Japan and am really looking forward to giving something back through JETAAA’s work. I’m also looking forward to meeting everyone and I hope to see you all at our events this year.

Vice President: Amelia Sirimanne

Hello, my name is Amelia, Vice President of JETAA Auckland. I am very excited to see what I can contribute to the Alumni Association in this role. I was an ALT in Kitakyshu City, Fukuoka Prefecture from 2005-2007. This was an awesome, once of a lifetime experience for me and coming back in the middle of a recession was difficult to say the least. However I survived and now work in a Law Centre out West in a job that most often doesn’t feel like work. I love dancing salsa and rueda, eating Japanese food and long walks on the beach. I also love the very social nature of the Alumni Association and encourage you to join, I can guarantee you’ll make some good friends.

Secretary: Katie Malone

Hello! I’m Katie and I am the Secretary for Auckland JETAA. I was an ALT in Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture from 2010 – 2012. I rotated through 8 different schools (elementary and junior high), and became adept at most variations of oni-gokko. My favourite Japanese food is ichigo-daifuku, and I shudder at the thought of eating goya. I really like yukata (so much easier to wear than kimono!), and will usually wear one with my favourite accessories to our bōnenkai each year. After returning from Japan, I went back to the insurance company I had been working with previously, and currently work as a commercial underwriter.

Treasurer: Jo Rogers

I am currently one of JETAA’s more recently returned members, having been an ALT from 2012 to 2014. My husband and I were super lucky to be placed in the big smoke of Osaka, where I taught in Izumi City and he spent his days working on drift cars. We loved to travel as much as we could and made it to 23 of Japan’s 47 prefectures; next time I’m there I plan to see the other 24. Now that I’m back in NZ, I have resumed my other life working as a hospital pharmacist, while I save up for more adventures planned in the future.

Newsletter Editor: Natalie Nagai-Ford

Hi, I’m Natalie. I was an ALT in the city of Takasaki in Gunma prefecture – a place (slightly) famous for Daruma dolls and little else. My time on JET lasted from 2003 to 2006, and I returned to Japan for another year on a working holiday shortly after, finally coming back home in 2008.
My experience as a cog in Japan’s education machine sparked an interest that led to an Honours dissertation, and now I am in the role of Education Officer at JETAA, as well as Newspaper Editor.

Newsletter Editor & Social Media Officer: Kimberley Rothville

Hi, I’m Kimberley, the Social Media Officer for this year 🙂
I was an Elementary ALT in Iwaki City, in beautiful Fukushima Prefecture from 2010-2014. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been back at uni, doing postgrad in Japanese. This year I’m starting a research masters looking at the role of reading in Japanese language acquisition.
Outside of linguistics and language teaching, my interests also include kimono, but all mine live down south in my family home, so apart from borrowing someone’s yukata for the bonenkai, I don’t have a chance to wear any in Auckland.

Returnees Officer: Loma Berge

Bula vinaka! I’m Loma and I was an ALT at Kurume Commercial High School in Kurume City, Fukuoka from 2003 to 2006. I loved Japan so much that I stayed on for a couple more years with my husband who also came on JET and finally returned to NZ at the end of 2008. We now have two beautiful boys who certainly keep us busy.
JET was a pivotal stepping stone for some of the amazing experiences and opportunities I have had thus far. From a 4 month volunteer experience on the Peace Boat, to 8 years working in the adult tertiary sector in Auckland and finally to completing my Masters in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education in 2016. As the returnees officer, I hope to be able to help with the transition of all JETs planning to come home and those who have arrived as it can be quite daunting – especially when trying to re-enter or join the workforce. We are here to help so please don’t hesitate to ask!

Liaison Officer: Natalie Chambers

Hi everyone!
I spent one year on the JET Programme from 2014 to 2015 as a CIR in Hokkaido. It was an extremely valuable experience, from which I gained so much. I was based in the town of Takikawa, which experienced ridiculous amounts of snow and temperatures as low as -20 degrees! My work at the city hall included event planning, regular preschool visits, teaching eikaiwa classes, and various presentations to local town residents to promote cross-cultural understanding. I also managed to do lots of trips around Japan, and even squeezed in a trip to Korea.
Since returning to New Zealand I have been managing a small English language school, which I am enjoying.
In my spare time I like hanging out with friends and family, my two adorable dogs, eating out, travelling, and getting into some Zumba.
I love being able to reminisce about my Japan experiences with other JETAA members, and I love to get involved in Japan-related events.