Champions programme

The Foundation's Champions programme brings together leading educators to act as amplifiers and role models, ensuring knowledge and understanding of Asia is valued in New Zealand schools.

Champions is a professional and collaborative initiative for educators to grow their knowledge, understanding and awareness of Asia. We support Champions to confidently lead initiatives in their school, community and wider professional affiliations.

The programme provides educators with an opportunity to help advocate for and shape an environment in Aotearoa New Zealand where all young people have an opportunity to grow their knowledge and understanding of Asia during their schooling.

Foundation Champions join a network with access to bespoke professional development opportunities such as workshops, conferences, cultural experiences, speaker engagements and targeted funding to grow New Zealanders knowledge and awareness of Asia.

Please keep an eye on this page or subscribe to our Foundation newsletter for information about the next application round..

Why is Asia important to Aotearoa New Zealand?

New Zealand’s present and future – economically, culturally and socially – are firmly tied to Asia. Seven out of our top ten trading partners are from Asia and 15 percent of New Zealanders identify as belonging to one or more Asian ethnic groups (2018 Census).

In the Foundation’s annual New Zealanders’ Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples survey, New Zealanders view Asia as the second-most important region to New Zealand, behind only Australia.

Global demographics indicate Asia will continue to be the region where growth and new ideas emerge – it’s the region to watch and particularly for our young people.

Why become a Champion?

As a Champion, you will: 

  • join a professional and collaborative group of educators from across New Zealand. 
  • develop professionally through an individualised and bespoke programme of activities and initiatives 
  • have access to opportunities such as conferences, events and targeted funding to support you professionally. 
  • connect with Asia experts in relevant fields such as business, educationsport, arts, leadership, and research 
  • have access to funding to hold activities and events in your school or region. 

Note: Teacher relief costs will be funded by the Foundation to enable participation in initiatives and activities that require time out of school. 

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for teachers and school leaders who are passionate about growing students' awareness and knowledge and understanding of Asia. 

You may know a lot about Asia already and have existing connections to the regionor you may be beginning your journey.  

We want to support you to:

  • gain skills and knowledge to develop world-ready students who value Asia. 
  • develop cultural competencies to build students' confidence to engage with Asia. 
  • act as a role models for other New Zealand educators in growing young people’s skills and confidence to engage with Asia. 
  • explore links between Māori and Asian cultures. 
  • share your knowledge and experiences with students, colleagues and through professional affiliations and networks. 
  • collaborate with and motivate fellow Champions. 
  • put forward innovative ideas to support the growth of Asia knowledge, awareness, and engagement. 

Read our Champions' profiles

Applicant requirements

Applicants must: 

  • Be New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. 
  • Be registered teacher or senior leader working in a New Zealand school. 
  • Have an interest in and be committed to growing awareness and knowledge of Asia. 
  • If short-listed, be available for ainterview (zoom). 
  • If successful, be available to attend a one-day induction programme.
  • Be willing to be profiled on the Foundation’s website and to actively participate in kōrero with other Champions about the relevance of Asia to young people, and to champion the importance of growing the knowledge, understanding, and confidence of young New Zealanders in relation to Asia. 

How to apply

Please keep an eye on this page or subscribe to our Foundation newsletter for information about the next application round.

Selection process

Applications will be reviewed by Asia New Zealand staff and an external panellist.


For more information, email the Foundation's education project officer Dara Choo: