JETAA 2017-2018: Year in Review

At this year’s Annual General Meeting in March, JETAA Wellington President Mark Dittmer gave a nice recap of 2017-2018’s events and achievements. In case you weren’t able to make it to dinner, we’ve brought the recap here so that you too can have a look back at the past year of JETAA Wellington.

Highlights from the past year included:

Orienting new JETs 

q&a collage

We got the new group ready for Japan with panel sessions, presentations and a meet up at Wagamamas between the new and old JETs. We introduced them to Tanabata in July. And then, all too quickly it was time to see them off to start their Japan adventure. Hopefully, when we get some of them back last this year, they’ll be keen to get involved.


Children’s Day –

Our volunteers show of their koinobori.

In May, we spent a Sunday making over 100 koinobori carp banner with children and their families at Te Papa.


Bento class –

bento main

In August, we ran a popular bento class with our Sakai Association friends run by ex-JET Katie McTeigue – and no one had boring lunches ever again!


Welcoming back returners –


In October, almost as soon as we said goodbye to the 2017 JETs, we welcomed the returners from Japan at the ambassador’s house and with an okonomiyaki lunch in November.


JETAA Oceania conference in Auckland –


In October, Vice President Seamus and President Mark represented Wellington and shared ideas with other chapters from around Australia and New Zealand. Australia Country Rep Eden Law paid visited us in Wellington on his way to the conference.


Taiyaki making at Hutt Japan Day –


In November, Michael rolled out the machine and we sold 300 taiyaki over four hours. We were also supporting JET alumni Amber Walters, who organised the festival.


Japan photo contest –


In November, with the end of the year fast approaching, Seamus and Hannah led this year’s contest. They used Facebook videos and posts to reach a wider audience. It was our most successful photo contest to date receiving 100 entries from 45 people and 230 votes for the finalists through the JICC!


JKaiwa –

pub quiz

The language group we co-run with our friends at Wellington Sakai Association continues to be popular as a way for the Japanese and ex-pat communities to connect and practice language exchange. Raewyn started off the year as our liaison, but handed the baton to Trees who did a stellar job handling business for the second half of the year. The year’s classes culminated in a Japanese pub quiz night which saw a fantastic turnout!

Phew! Quite the year, with even more to come in the future! For more fantastic pics, mostly shot by our very own President Mark Dittmer, check out our Facebook page or Instagram.

Lastly, Mark wished to acknowledge that all of JETAA’s events, dinners, orientations, and meetups are organised by volunteers putting in hard work and plenty of time on top of their other commitments. As such, he wished to thank the following people:

Seamus – Vice President
Thank you to Seamus who wasn’t expecting to be vice-president when he came along to last year’s AGM. But since he’s joined the committee, he’s put his many talents to use – in particular for the alumni survey we ran of our members in March last year and the Wellington photo contest which was very successful and had many many entries. Thank you, Seamus!

Michael – Secretary
Michael is in many ways the backbone of our committee. He works tirelessly on the tasks that keep the group running, such as keeping an up-to-date list of our members. He’s also the keeper of the taiyaki machine. We appreciate everything he does for us. Thank you for your hard work, Michael!

Hannah – Treasurer
Hannah has been so reliable as treasurer for the past year-and-a-half. She took over the role, stepping in half-way through the year in 2016. We’ve been glad to have her holding the purse strings, but she’s stepping away from the committee tonight, so there’s an opportunity for someone else to step in. Thank you, Hannah for your efforts!

Raewyn – Jkaiwa
She’s a veteran of committees in Auckland and Wellington as well as being a former country rep. Raewyn always makes a contribution, such as helping us buy 600 cabbages for the okonomiyaki lunch we ran in November. Despite helping buy all the ingredients, she wasn’t able to stay for the lunch. But that shows her commitment to JETAA. Thank you, Raewyn!

Trees – Jkaiwa
Freshly returned from Japan – she got stuck in with making Taiyaki at Hutt Japan Day and did an excellent job of co-organising the quiz night last December. Thank you, Trees!

Steven – Communications
He can’t always make the meetings, but he always makes an important contribution. If you ever read one of our newsletters, that was Steven holding the pen! Whether he’s in Japan, America or Auckland, he always comes up with the goods. Thank you, Steven!

Xan – Japan Information and Cultural Centre
Special thanks to Xan – our connection with the Japanese embassy, and an important person when we need to get things done. We couldn’t do it without her. Thank you, Xan!

It’s been my privilege to work with such a high calibre team. As I said, many things achieved in 2017 and much more to look forward to in 2018. We’ve got sushi making, ikebana and Wellington Japan Festival on the horizon. Let’s now look to the year ahead and what we can do in 2018/19!

I believe we can all agree that Mark’s own tireless work and friendly leadership has been greatly appreciated, so we’d like to say thank you to Mark as well!