Seriously Asia Revisited

In 2022, the Asia New Zealand Foundation revisited a programme of work we first conducted in 2003 to examine New Zealand’s relations with and in Asia. The work looked at how far we have come and what we need to do going forward to position New Zealand for success.
A participant of the Seriously Asia Revisited Queenstown hui addressing the room

Seriously Asia Revisited hui were held in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown to consult informed voices on Asia and industry experts

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 were 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 commissioned a series of papers that revisited 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.

Regional hui held to consult industry experts and informed voices on Asia

In 2022, the Foundation 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 and industry experts to discuss how best to position New Zealand for its future with Asia. The hui were:

From those hui four reports have been produced:

Seriously Asia Revisited - a roadmap for 2024 and beyond

Collating the findings outlined in the four aforementioned papers, in September 2023 the Foundation published the report Seriously Asia Revisited - a roadmap for 2024 and beyond. The report outlines six key issues New Zealand must tackle and provides 12 recommendations to better position New Zealand for success in the region over the coming decades.

Watch this video to get a taste of the conversations that were had at the four regional Seriously Asia Revisited hui

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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 second half.)