Seriously Asia Revisited

The Asia New Zealand Foundation is looking back to a programme of work we conducted in 2003 to gauge just how far New Zealand has come with developing its relationships in Asia and what we need to do to progress them further.

In 2003, the Asia New Zealand Foundation ran the Seriously Asia initiative, a programme of work that canvassed views from across this country and in Asia, enhanced New Zealanders’ understanding of Asia, and shaped New Zealand’s engagement with the region in the years ahead.

At the time, Foundation chairman Sir Dryden Spring noted that no other region of the world was as important to the welfare of New Zealand’s economy as Asia. Prime minister of the day Helen Clark observed the only option for New Zealand was to engage quickly with the dynamic Asia region and make New Zealand relevant.

Fast forward to 2022 and those statements are truer than ever. But is New Zealand making the most of the opportunities that Asia presents – and are its relationships in the region as strong as they could be?

To address these questions, in 2022 the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono launched Seriously Asia Revisited, with the aim of developing a roadmap for New Zealand’s engagement with Asia in the years ahead.

The Foundation is commissioning a series of papers that will revisit the outcomes and recommendations of the 2003 Seriously Asia, to reflect on how the context has changed since 2003, what has been achieved and what could have been done differently.

The Foundation has also held a series of four hui over the course of the year, which brought together a cross-section of informed voices on New Zealand-Asia relations to discuss how best to position New Zealand for its future with Asia. These outputs will inform a publication with a series of recommendations.

Seriously Asia Hui 2022:

For more information, please contact [email protected] 

Project Overview


To hear our Director Research and Engagement, Suzannah Jessep, talk more about this work, you can listen to this episode of Asia Insight from the Asia Media Centre.

(While the episode isn't titled as such, it does discuss Seriously Asia Revisited in the latter half.)