An Asia New Zealand Foundation survey report ‘Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples’ has found many New Zealanders lack confidence in engaging with Asia, despite recognising the importance Asia has to New Zealand.
The Foundation’s New Zealanders’ Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples annual survey finds eight out of ten New Zealanders say that Asia is important to New Zealand in economic and social terms, yet two-thirds of us say that we know little or nothing about Asia.
Simon Draper, Executive Director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation says that knowledge and understanding of Asia are key to making the most of the growing opportunities for New Zealanders in the region. Without it, New Zealanders risk missing out.
“Success with Asia is built on relationships, not just transactions,” says Draper. “Without this understanding – and the confidence to give it a go – we risk missing out on opportunities not only in business development and trade but also in education, career development and travel. These opportunities can be life-changing.”
four in ten New Zealanders say they have limited knowledge of Asia and limited involvement with Asian cultures.
“There are so many opportunities for young leaders, entrepreneurs and travellers to succeed in Asia,” says Draper. “There are two things New Zealanders can do – the first one is to have the confidence to try – you may know more than you think you do. It’s not hard to travel and work in many Asian countries without knowing the language, so don’t let this put you off giving it a go.
“The second is to get involved and actively learn. The Asia New Zealand Foundation was established to help New Zealanders do this, and we have a wide range of programmes to develop confidence amongst New Zealand leaders in the arts, education, media, business and academic sectors.”
The Asia New Zealand Foundation is New Zealand’s leading non-government authority on Asia. It is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation, established in 1994 to build New Zealanders’ knowledge and understanding of Asia. The Asia New Zealand Foundation has been researching New Zealanders’ attitudes towards Asia and its peoples on an annual basis since 1997. This has allowed it to chart the changing perceptions of Asia and Asian peoples in New Zealand.