Sam Stapley

14 August 2023

Old Collegian Sam Stapley

A push from his father to learn another language prompted Sam Stapley (OC 2010) to study Japanese, a decision which has had a profound impact on all areas of his life. Sam says his teacher, Virginia Simcock, was passionate and encouraging to everyone learning the language, with a class trip to Japan and a three-month exchange to Japan, among the most memorable parts of his studies.

After leaving St Andrew’s, Sam studied Japanese alongside a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting at the University of Canterbury, before taking up a scholarship to study at Waseda University in Tokyo. “After completing my studies in 2015, I founded a hotel and short-term accommodation management company in Tokyo, growing a portfolio of 1000 rooms under management nationwide across Japan. I used Japanese on a daily basis as I had predominantly Japanese staff.” 

After selling the company at the end of 2019, Sam moved back to New Zealand with his Japanese wife, Nina, and co-founded Mayfair Luxury Hotels, in Christchurch. The Stapley’s son, Louis, attends the St Andrew’s Pre-school, and the family use Japanese every day at home. “If I had not studied Japanese, I would not have had these opportunities or gone down my current career path. I would strongly encourage students to try a second language, as it can open more doors.” 

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