Join the Leadership Network

Applications are now open for the 2024 Leadership Network intake. The Leadership Network equips New Zealand’s next generation of Kiwi leaders to thrive in Asia. We provide members with the connections, knowledge and confidence to lead New Zealand’s future relationship with the region.

The 2024 application round is now open. Applications close 2 June

Are you a thinker, an innovator, community leader, artist, changemaker or activist? We are looking for leaders in all areas of life who want to make a difference and drive the New Zealand-Asia relationship. If you want to be surrounded by globally-minded Kiwis passionate about making Aotearoa a better place and connecting with Asia, then this is the place for you! 

Hear from Leadership Network members about why they joined the network and the opportunities it provides them

Why join the Leadership Network

The Leadership Network is New Zealand’s best Asia-focused leadership network. We support emerging and established leaders who are interested in developing their engagement with Asia. By joining the network you will gain access to a range of opportunities to develop your leadership and professional skills to help you become a confident, empathetic and dynamic leader. 

As a member, you will have access to a range of funded opportunities, including: 

Growing your leadership skills 

By hosting events, speaking on panels, or taking part in leadership training.  

Travelling offshore 

By being part of our group offshore visits.

Attending onshore events 

Short, targeted events that provide leadership and professional development and the opportunity to expand your Asia knowledge.  

Connecting with other members 

Through many opportunities, including networking events, a mentorship programme, and  randomised one-on-one connection catchups.  

Governance experience 

Members can apply to join the Leadership Network advisory board, acting as the voice of the  network while gaining board experience.  

Access to special events 

Opportunities provided by other organisations nationally and internationally, which we are then able to pass onto network members. 

Recent opportunities the Leadership Network has offered to members include:

A visit to Taiwan to learn about the island's culture and history.

The annual Rethinking Leadership Hui, which brings network members together to discuss what it is to be an ethical and effective leader.

The Tāngata Moana Hui, which looked at connections between Asia and the Pacific.

The Singapore Hui, which allowed network members to gain greater understanding of the Southeast Asian nation and its connections to New Zealand.

Read more stories about Leadership Network members and activities

Leadership Network member Xavier Breed talks about the benefits of joining the network


In order to be considered for the Leadership Network, you must be:

  • aged between 20 and 30 at the time of application
  • a New Zealand citizen/permanent resident
  • based in New Zealand
  • able to attend a short interview
  • available to attend a two-day induction programme if selected.

Selection criteria

Applications will be assessed on their: 

  • reasons for joining the network 
  • leadership background and our assessment of their leadership potential 
  • attitude, ability to clearly communicate what makes a good leader 
  • interest in Asia and ability to articulate why it’s important to New Zealand’s future. Asia knowledge (e.g. language, professional skills) is valued, but is not required
  • background of making the most of opportunities and making a difference where they can 
  • commitment to a diverse and inclusive New Zealand and the principles of Te Tiriti of Waitangi.

Our application process can be quite competitive, but we strongly encourage all to apply. Please do not get discouraged if you aren’t successful - you can still connect in with our other Foundation programmes and apply again next year.

The Foundation is committed to a diverse and inclusive network. We want a network where all sectors, geographies and peoples of New Zealand are represented. Leadership is not just about being the boss or having a formal position of leadership, it’s about creating change, supporting others and making the right decisions under pressure.

Key dates

  • Applications now open.
  • Applications close end of day Sunday 2 June.
  • Applicants will be notified of the success of their application by the end of July.
  • An induction for new members will be held in November.

For any further enquiries re the Leadership Network, please email

How to apply

To apply, please fill out the application form and submit at this link by EOD Sunday, 2 June.

Our application process has two rounds - after submitting an application form, we may invite you to join us for a 15 minute online interview.


Why do I need to go through a selection process for the Leadership Network?

The Leadership Network has a limited number of places for each new cohort. Having an application process in place ensures that we continue to grow a diverse network of engaging members who are invested in the Asia New Zealand Foundation’s kaupapa, and who we believe can benefit greatly from the opportunities and experiences offered through the network.  

I have never been to Asia, can I still apply?

Yes! While leadership and Asia knowledge are what we are looking for in our members, travel experience to Asia is not mandatory. We are interested in applicants who have a strong sense of curiosity, passion, and an interest to learn more about the region.

Why is there an age limit?

As the nature of the Leadership Network is to focus on emerging leaders, the age requirement is to ensure we are engaging with the target audience.

What sort of leadership experience do I need to have?

The definition of leadership is extensive and is not necessarily confined to our professional lives. You may have leadership experience in areas, such as within your community, a sports team, club etc. Don’t forget to include any leadership experience in your application!

I have been suggested by a current member of the network. Will this help my application?

No, all applications are assessed based on their own merit. We do ask how you heard about the leadership network, but this information is used to improve our processes and will not be used in accessing your applications.

Who is in the network?

Our network is made up of a range of up-and-coming or current leaders in a range of areas. Have a look at a snapshot of our network here. The network is made up of over 400 members. To have a look at our demographics, check out this web story.

Do I have to pay for anything once I’m in the network?

The network’s opportunities are funded, meaning we will cover the cost of flights, accommodation and most meals when you attend one of our events. However, we are largely taxpayer funded, and there are limits to what we will cover. For example, we won’t cover transport to your local airport, meals outside of the events, parking costs if driving to an event, travel insurance and personal spending.

What is the selection process?

Interested applicants are asked to submit an application by following the instructions on the Asia New Zealand foundation website.  
The Asia New Zealand Foundation will then assess all applications against a set of criteria and compile a shortlist of applicants. Shortlisted applicants will then undertake an online catch-up with a two-person panel made up of staff from the Foundation and/or current members of the Leadership Network.    
After the interviews, the panel will aim to recommend a list of 35-40 applicants to the Asia New Zealand Foundation’s executive director for their signoff. 

Other questions?

Contact the team at