Driving NZ success in Asia – new members join Leadership Network


More than 40 young leaders from across Aotearoa have been chosen to join the Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Leadership Network to grow their leadership skills and knowledge of Asia.
A man wearing an Asia New Zealand Foundation t-shirt with Leadership Network members out of focus in the background

The Foundation equips network members to thrive in and with Asia by providing opportunities to connect, learn and engage

Established in 2007, the Leadership Network is comprised of emerging leaders in all areas of life who want to make a difference to the New Zealand-Asia relationship. The Foundation equips network members to thrive in and with Asia by providing opportunities to connect, learn and engage. The new members join almost 400 existing members in the Network.

Asia New Zealand Foundation executive director Simon Draper says New Zealand needs the next generation of leaders to understand Asia and have the confidence to drive how New Zealand engages with the region.

‘’If anything, it’s more important than ever that we grow New Zealand’s capacity to engage with Asia while travel is difficult. It’s all too easy for Asia to slip off the radar while we’re domestically focused, but it remains vitally important for New Zealand now and in the future.

“Interestingly, our research suggests our rangatahi [young people] are more aware of how important Asia is to New Zealand’s future and — through exposure to global pop culture — are already quite Asia-aware.”

The Foundation’s director of entrepreneurship and leadership Adam McConnochie says the Foundation received a record number of applications in 2021. “We’re really delighted by the calibre of applications we received, with a real diversity of leadership experiences and an amazing array of Asia-related knowledge and experience.”

Leadership Network member Rāniera Kaio joined Foundation staff on the interview panel.

“It’s incredibly humbling to meet so many impressive future leaders. The Leadership Network – and Aotearoa – are in good shape if this cohort is anything to go by. Me whakahīhī tātou, ka tika [We should be proud, and rightly so].”

Newly appointed Leadership Network member Victoria Brownlee is looking forward to the opportunity to connect with other passionate individuals. “I’m excited to have the chance to meet like-minded people who are passionate about international relations. With Asia’s incredible diversity and rich history, there is so much we can learn by strengthening our relationship with the region.”

Nathan Taylor, co-founder of tech company Partly, says the network will position him to be at the forefront of growing New Zealand’s relationship with Asia. “Asia has been a significant part of my life — from growing up there as a teenager, to launching business operations there today. I see Asia continuing to grow in its economic, cultural, and social importance to New Zealand.”

Marie Ysabel Landingin is looking forward to being part of a community of “Asia-minded” leaders. “I’m lucky to be an Asian-New Zealander who has gained a lot from opportunities to be where I am now. The Leadership Network offers a great opportunity to give back and pay it forward by championing diversity, inspiring others to look towards Asia, and ultimately making a difference together.”

Riki Kahukiwa, a solicitor who studied Mandarin at Peking University, sees opportunities to draw on the variety of experiences and expertise for his own personal development and understanding of Asia. “What I’m most looking forward to is the opportunity to interact with others who share a passion for Asia and who are themselves from diverse backgrounds and disciplines.”

 The Foundation will formally welcome the new members into the Network with an induction in Wellington in early February 2022. They will connect with the other new members, learn more about the mahi of the Foundation and discuss their leadership goals and challenges.

 The new Leadership Network members are:

 About the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono   

Established in 1994, the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono is New Zealand’s leading authority on Asia. We provide experiences and resources to help New Zealanders build their knowledge, skills and confidence to thrive in Asia. We work in partnership with influential individuals and organisations in New Zealand and Asia. www.asianz.org.nz    

For more information: 

Rebecca Inoue-Palmer 

Director communications and media 

[email protected]

(04) 470 8701