Hutt-Minoh Teacher Exchange Programme (MINTEX) 2016

Lower Hutt and Minoh City celebrated the 20th Anniversary of their Sister City relationship in October 2015.  During these celebrations Mayor Wallace and Mayor Kurata signed an agreement to formalise the establishment of the Hutt-Minoh Teacher Exchange Programme (MINTEX). The purpose of this exchange was to provide an opportunity for local teachers to experience educational similarities and differences between the school systems; to embrace the culture and lifestyles in each country and to foster a deeper intercultural understanding and active global citizenship and engagement between the Sister Cities. 

Hutt City Council and Minoh City Office have worked together to establish this exchange.

Two Lower Hutt teachers will travel to Minoh in October 2016 for two weeks to co-teach English and New Zealand Culture in selected schools.  To ensure they learn about the Japanese lifestyle and culture, they will be home hosted during their stay.  They will also reciprocate the hospitality when two teachers come to Lower Hutt in 2017 on the return exchange. 

Managed by Linda Goss-Wallace, Projects Manager at Hutt City Council, the MINTEX working group is pleased to announce the two delegates selected to participate in the inaugural Hutt to Minoh Teacher Exchange Programme are: Ardis O’Connor and Michelle Gibson.

 Ardis O’Connor & Michelle Gibson


Ardis teaches at Raphael House Rudolph Steiner School in Lower Hutt.

He has been teaching since 1999 and is married with three grown children. Ardis enjoys astronomy, history, music, arts and the great outdoors in Lower Hutt especially mountain biking and kayaking. 

In 1994-1996 Ardis was a JET Assistant English Teacher at the three Junior High Schools in Nihon Matsu, Fukushima and speaks some Japanese.

Michelle is an Early Childhood Teacher who has been teaching for 11 years and based in Lower Hutt. She is married to Michael and mother of 17 year old identical twin boys and very passionate about teaching children. She has always had an interest in travelling but has never been to Japan. She enjoys outdoor activities, music, dance and rugby.

Ardis and Michelle will be fundraising for their exchange this year and hosting the Minoh teachers in 2017, so please support them and have some fun as well.  Details of fundraising activities will be posted on this website.