Join the Leadership Network

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 next application round will be held in mid-2023. See Key Dates below for more details.

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! 

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 be 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, or by applying for our travel grant.  

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. 

Past opportunities have included a Te Ao Māori Hui, that allowed members to learn more about Tikanga Māori, a Wellbeing Hui, that looked at how to be a leader in the space of health and wellbeing, and a Japan Hui, that took 16 members to Japan for a week to explore and learn more about the country.

As a member, you will be expected to be engaged throughout the year by attending events and making the most of the opportunities provided to members. This is a great network and an amazing opportunity to grow as a leader, but does come with expectations around appropriately representing the network and engaging regularly. 

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 32 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. 

* We've extended the age of eligibility for the 2023 intake from 30 to 32 due to not having a 2022 intake. The upper age range will return to 30 for the 2024 intake.

Selection criteria

Applications will be assessed on: 

  • your reasons for joining the network 
  • your leadership background and our assessment of your leadership potential 
  • your attitude, ability to clearly communicate and your articulation of what makes a good leader 
  • an interest in Asia and why it’s important to New Zealand’s future. Asia knowledge (e.g. language, professional skills) is valued, but is not required. 
  • a background of making the most of opportunities and making a difference where you can 
  • a 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

Due to the Foundation being unable to offer Leadership Network members in-country Asia experiences over the past two years, we have decided not hold an intake in 2022 so we can focus on providing current members opportunities.

The next application round will be in mid-2023.

During the application period, we will look to host a number of outreach events to promote the Leadership Network and provide the opportunity for potential applicants to learn a bit more about the network itself. Keep an eye out for these events around Aotearoa. 

2023 intake timeframe

  • March-May: Applications open
  • June-July: Selection process and interviews
  • August: New intake announcement

To make sure that you are updated with the latest opportunities from the Asia New Zealand Foundation, sign up to receive our newsletter (see the footer of this page) and follow our social media channels. 

For any further enquiries re the Leadership Network, please contact Linh ([email protected])

How to apply

The next Leadership Network application round is due to open in mid-2023. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].


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 just under 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?

All applications will be reviewed by a panel of Asia New Zealand Foundation staff.

Shortlisted candidates will meet with the selection panel for a short online or in-person interview.

Foundation staff will make the final decision on successful applicants the following month.

If your application is successful, you will need to attend a weekend induction programme in Wellington in late 2023.


Other questions?

Contact the team at [email protected].