Welcome JETAA New Zealand’s New Country Rep!

In June, JETAA New Zealand chapters elected a new country representative as the previous representative, Ms. Raewyn MacGregor, finished her tenure in the position. We want to thank Raewyn for her tireless work to promote New Zealand’s JETAA chapters and to represent them abroad in Australia and Tokyo. Raewyn will continue to be involved in JETAA Wellington locally as its Jkaiwa liaison.

The new country representative for New Zealand will be Ms. Daniela Mageanu, currently serving as president for JETAA South Island. Daniela, or Dana, was kind enough to answer some questions about her JET life and plans for the future. Read on below to learn more about our incoming representative!


A little about you?
I was on JET in Hyōgo (Itami/Amagasaki) from 2011 to 2015 teaching at high school level. At the same time, I was studying extramurally towards my MA (in Japanese theatre).

I have been fascinated by Japan from an early age and once I began studying the language I loved it even more, so living there was an amazing experience. Before I went on JET I was studying Japanese and Spanish at the University of Canterbury. While in my first year there I established the Japanese Society (JSOC), which, I’m happy to see is still going strong.

From then, going on JET was a natural next step, and I was both excited and terrified at the thought of getting on the plane. At my schools, I amused students and teachers alike with my ability to break into the Kansai dialect in class, and my approach to teaching (which involved a LOT of gesturing, Disney, drama, poetry, NZ music, colloquial-structure practice, and lots of group dialogue).

Why did you get involved with JETAA?
I joined JETAA South Island as the Secretary for the 2016 Committee because I wanted to remain connected with the Japanese speaking community, and fellow JETs.

Why run for chapter president and country rep?
As Secretary of JETAA SI, I was involved in event organising and the day-to-day running of the committee. Now, that I have become familiar with the function of JETAA SI, I want to use my skills to further deepen the relationship between the local JETAA chapters, recent returnees, potential participants, and the Japanese consulates/embassy. I am currently working to promote JETAA SI more on the University of Canterbury campus, and strengthen our relationship with the Kurashiki Sister City Committee, and the existing Japanese Society here.

In my position as CR, the aims I intend to achieve are:

  1. A strengthening of the relationship between JETAA, existing local Japanese societies, and local education providers
  2. More unity among the New Zealand chapters and sub-chapter(s) and, ideally, joint events
  3. Continue promoting the JET programme locally, and, reach into smaller cities as well as the main centres
  4. Continued co-ordination with, and friendly support of, international JETAA chapters and CLAIR.

What do you do outside of JETAA?
I am a freelance home tutor and I also volunteer at University of Canterbury Digital Arts Lab, specifically assisting with photo descriptions and interview transcription for CEISMIC (the Christchurch Earthquakes digital archive).