An online magazine of news and opinions from the Asia New Zealand Foundation

Executive director’s Stuff opinion pieces

The Foundation's executive director Simon Draper started writing a fortnightly column for Fairfax this year. Below are the articles published to date.

Simon Draper

Asia relationship needs more than dairy

As New Zealand starts to enter its peak arts and culture season, with festivals aplenty around the country, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how New Zealand's arts and culture engagement with Asia enriches our understanding of the region.

Business leaders must speak up for Asia-competent workforce

We know Asian cultures put a premium on relationships. With that in mind, I have advocated a more mature New Zealand approach — one that fosters building deep relationships and understanding over the long-term, rather than on short-term financial gains.

We need to talk about tourism

To me, our tourism industry is like a goose that is metaphorically laying golden eggs for us. We know of course what happened to the goose in the fable — its owners got greedy and it was killed.

Singapore - an increasingly important, impressive trade partner for New Zealand - 4 December 

As a small country, it's tempting to use our size as an excuse for not being able to do things. Perhaps we can take a page from Singapore's book which tells us size doesn't always matter?

We aren't recognising Asian children's potential - 20 November

The findings of the Starting Strong: Nurturing the potential of our Asian under-fives report were a sobering reminder that we need to up our game if we don't want New Zealanders to miss out on the opportunities the rise of Asia brings.

Asia-Pacific challenges for Ardern's government - 6 November

Now that the election dust has settled and as new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her team buckle down to running the country, among the first things they will need to get their heads around are Asia-Pacific regional issues…

Diwali festival shows cultural diversity of modern NZ – 23 October  

Growing up in Auckland, the annual cultural highlight was the Easter Show or maybe the Santa parade. I thought about this when I attended the opening of the Auckland Diwali Festival last weekend and witnessed the amazing energy, vivid colours and dazzling performances of this annual celebration...

A large group of children dressed in traditional Indian clothes for Diwali

The power of social enterprise – 9 October

One of the great things about this job at the Asia New Zealand Foundation is you get to meet interesting people and you learn new things. That is important because in the business world if you are not moving forward you are going backwards...

Why North Korea matters to New Zealanders – 11 September

In previous columns, I've talked about how our research shows that while most New Zealanders view Asia as important to New Zealand's future, two-thirds of us say we know little or nothing about the region. Our Perceptions of Asia survey also tells us that much of what New Zealanders do know about Asia comes from the media...

South Island visit offers different perspective on Asian business – 28 August

Last week I was in Christchurch for the South Island launch of our research on Asian investment in New Zealand…

Getting amongst it key to success in Asian markets – 11 August

Earlier this year, Auckland University student Jay Sinclair spent three months in Ho Chi Minh City, working for global professional services company KPMG through an Asia New Zealand Foundation internship…

School leavers are not Asia-ready- 31 July

A few weeks ago, Asia New Zealand Foundation staff travelled to Rotorua's Taheke Marae for a hui on our engagement with Maori. We were lucky enough to have three young people with us, the children of Josh Wharehinga, one of the members of our Leadership Network's Māori caucus...

A group of 20 or so people, including Foundation staff, standing in front of a meeting house.

Australia's Asia debate worryingly polarising – 17 July

I'm often annoyed when I hear people claim "New Zealand is lucky.  It's as if we have somehow stumbled upon this fortunate lifestyle most New Zealanders enjoy, or that our success internationally in innovation, sport, arts and science is mere chance...

Twenty years on from the Hong Kong handover – 3 July

Remember the "Y2K" computer bug panic of 1999? The fear a coding problem in computer systems could create untold havoc as clocks ticked over into the new millennium?..

Be aware of uncertainty in Asia – 19 June

As part of the Asia New Zealand Foundation's education programme we've been trying to produce informative maps to help Kiwi school kids learn more about the countries of Asia. We've completed four of these so far. You might think it would be a simple enough task...

Why are we afraid of Asian investment? – 5 June

Back in the 1980s, Kiwi meat company Anzco Foods found itself facing an attempted takeover amid dramatic economic reforms...

Valued relationship with Japan needs rekindling – 22 May

I have returned from a visit to Japan as part of Prime Minister Bill English’s delegation. I was the only representative from an NGO to travel as part of the delegation – and the Japanese I met remarked how good it was to see the Asia New Zealand Foundation included...

More to Asia than immigration – 8 May

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with an old acquaintance I hadn't seen for a while. When I told him I worked at the Asia New Zealand Foundation, he replied: "Well, I'm not sure we need that. Seems like we already have enough Asians in New Zealand"...

Girls sitting at a table watching a tutor write calligraphy

Southeast Asia deserves our attention – 24 April

What do you think of when you think of Southeast Asia? Holidays in Bali or Lombok? Night markets, tropical fruits and cheap food?

Asia conversations must expand – 3 April

There's no way I could write this column without mentioning the recent visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang…

Kiwis need more confidence with Asia – 20 March

In 1984 I kicked off my big OE with a trip to Hong Kong and China. I could speak only one Chinese phrase...The Asia New Zealand Foundation has just released the latest findings in its New Zealanders' Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples survey...

Simon Draper as a young man

Asia - what are we missing out on? – 6 March

My father was in the exporting business. Just before my 10th birthday, he brought home a toy samurai helmet given to him by a Japanese businessman. My mother, then in her mid-forties, was less than enthused about this gift. She recalled her WWII childhood, lying awake at night worried about Japanese mini subs coming into the Waitemata Harbour.…