Council Member Profiles

The New Zealand-Japan Society of Auckland Inc.
PO Box 74063
Auckland 1543

General Inquiry Theo Kuuya
Arts & Community Kumiko Imai
Social Events Vanessa Chang
Education Keiko Kano / Fumiko Goodhue
Haere Mai Taiko Michiyo Mori
Aoteakai Tea Ceremony Club Eleanor Goldsmith
Problem/Emergency Line Kumiko Imai 020 400 20496
Technical Support Thac Ngo

Stephen Duxfield

Originally from Wanganui, I have lived in Auckland, NZ’s largest and most culturally diverse city, for over 25 years. I have been a member and leader of the Society for over 18 years and during that time I have seen it grow and branch out as members explore their own personal interests.As a leader I like to encourage others to use their talents and to pursue their respective interests in line with the Society’s purpose and aims. The wide spectrum of cultural, educational and social activity that NZJS is involved in helps us appreciate differences. I personally maintain broad global interests and those who know me soon realise that I’m a passionate sport lover. The Rotorua Ekiden, an annual pilgrimage for NZJS members, is an example of co-operation and friendly competition, as is the biannual softball tournament, which helps promote inter-company and club rivalry.

As we each do our part we ensure the Society as a whole can provide broader ranging opportunities for members and the extended community. I urge others to appreciate what has been achieved to date and build on what has been established. Please contact me at for any enquiries.

Kazunori Kobayashi
Vice President

KazWith my wife and daughters, I came to Aotearoa/New Zealand to explore and learn from the nature, society, and its way of life – hoping to bring back the goodness to Japan. For the last 15 years, both as passion and work I have practiced in projects in ecology, wellbeing, and sustainability with business and non-profit organizations – which is the topic of the Ph.D. thesis I am writing on at Massey University, School of Management. I look forward to exploring these areas with wonderful people I meet through NZJS!

Kumiko Imai-Duxfield
Society Secretary & Director of Arts and Culture

KumikoAs Director of Arts & Culture and also Society Secretary, my organisational skills and my drive to achieve the best possible results have helped record some very worthwhile outcomes for the Society. My passions and talents for planning cultural events and workshops are constantly called upon, resulting in some wonderful exhibitions and programmes. Choosing the most suitable organisations to partner with has been most rewarding as Taste of Japan has evolved over the years with something special each time. AUT has been a special partner for NZJS and we have also enjoyed meeting and working with Auckland Museum staff around themes WASHI 2008 and then WAGASHI in 2012.  In 2006 at the Auckland Town Hall for Auckland Fukuoka 20th Anniversary celebrations working with the entire community, in 2010 NZJS 50th Anniversary Celebrations, and in 2014 Auckland Art Gallery workshops spanning six months supporting their Fragile Beauty exhibition .

These cultural events & workshops give people the chance to learn and enjoy specific aspects of Japanese culture as we introduce and teach through workshops, demonstrations and performances. Community events are for everyone to enjoy and we encourage members to spread the word and bring friends and family. Please check the Taste of Japan website or for further information, details & updates. We look forward to seeing you there. In my spare time I enjoy practicing Japanese tea ceremony, watching movies, going for walks and playing with my dog, Adelie.


Keiko Kano
Director of Education

KeikoI am in charge of Japanese language courses and some other educational events as the Director of Education. I am a member of the Aoteakai tea ceremony club of NZJS. I like travelling to learn about various cultures, history and people around the world. I am interested in photography as a journal. I also love gardening, growing vegetables, DIY, watching birds, movies and sports, listening to music (classical), reading books (non-fiction), and playing tennis. I lived in Tokyo and Washington D.C. before moving to “quiet” Auckland.

Vanessa ChangVanessa

Looking back on my years of studying Japanese, even when all I could do was greet people and introduce myself, I still felt such gratification and pride in being able to speak in another language. Now majoring in Japanese at University of Auckland, I am still learning and still enjoying the language and culture. Through NZJS I have been fortunate enough to encounter a variety of people who share or inspire my interests, as well as cultural activities such as the Aoteakai Tea Ceremony Club and Haere Mai Taiko Drumming Team, which I am part of.

Erina Kobayashi
Wings of Hope Co-ordinatorErina

Coming from Japan in 2013, I’m currently exploring a sustainable way of life in Auckland, with my husband and two daughters. I’m interested in Tea Ceremony / Japanese culture by seeing through foreigner / Traditional Culture / “Permaculture” / “Eco Village” in NZ / Nature of NZ / Holistic health / Traveling.

I participated in “Taste of Japan” at Auckland Art Gallery in 2014 as a volunteer and hope to contribute to NZJS in what I enjoy doing.


Fumiko Goodhue


Theo Kuuya

TheoHaving an interest in Japan as many of my peers were, I found myself involved with more and more Japan related activities. As a result of my ongoing interest I am currently studying Japanese as a major at The University of Auckland.
I’ve always had a passion for Japanese culture and am passionate about helping build awareness and co-operation between both New Zealand and Japan.
At present, I am also learning the Shakuhachi, an ancient and traditional Japanese flute that is both amazing in sound and history, but is not well known in most of the world.
I am honored to be part of this exciting team and look forward to being able to help share and encourage the development of deeper ties between the Japanese and New Zealand cultures.

Jo Anderson

Eleanor Goldsmith
Aoteakai Tea Ceremony ClubEleanor

My twin passions are Japanese translation and chanoyu (the Way of Tea). I have had the good fortune to be able to sustain and develop these interests since moving to NZ seven years ago, having spent most of my adult life up to that point in Japan. Working from home as a freelance Japanese translator can be something of a solitary occupation, so I enjoy the opportunity to chat with three dimensional people while sharing a bowl of matcha at our monthly Aoteakai tea ceremony group practices.

Michiyho Mori
Haere Mai

Thac Ngo

I am originally from Vietnam. After being awarded a full scholarship from the Japanese government, I moved to Japan and studied and worked there for a total of nine years before relocating to Auckland. It is my absolute pleasure to be able to promote Japanese culture and connect Japan to New Zealand.