Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Japan Women’s 15 National Rugby Football Team & Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, Suntory Sungoliath, Tokyo, Japan
Master of Sport and Exercise
Coming to AUT for postgraduate study was an easy decision, says Wataru Hiramatsu who is now working with Japan Women’s 15 National Rugby Football Team and Suntory Sungoliath as a strength and conditioning coach.
“Rugby is my main interest, and New Zealand is of course one of the greatest countries when it comes to rugby. When I was studying in Japan, I met Professor Patria Hume from AUT’s School of Sport and Recreation, and she recommended finding a programme where I could learn from expert strength and conditioning staff in a practical environment.
“I thought studying in New Zealand and gaining experience in the field of strength and conditioning here will be helpful for my future career.”
Learning from the best
Being able to learn from experts in his field was one of the highlights of his studies, Wataru says.
“I enjoyed being able to access the facilities at AUT Millennium, and learning from guest speakers who often play very important roles in high-level organisations. Access to such industry-level facilities and industry experts is not easy to obtain in other environments.”
Wataru, who came to AUT as an international student from Japan, says the environment had a big impact on his practical skills.
“I like that AUT has a practical focus when it comes to lectures, facilities and the style of learning. Because the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand is based at AUT, I also had the opportunity to further my skills in this high-level research environment.”
The confidence to succeed
He would highly recommend postgraduate study in sport and exercise to others, says Wataru.
“I would definitely recommend this programme. Studying at AUT gives students confidence and helps them improve their practical skills. I also love the Kiwis, the people in New Zealand.”
Studying in New Zealand has had some challenges, he admits.
“The language was the biggest challenge for me. Fortunately, much of our course material was in the form of online videos, which was very helpful as I could watch these videos multiple times to ensure I can fully understand the course content.”