Simon Draper's
May 2018 update


By the time this update is published, I’ll be half way to Singapore where I’ll be spending two days engaged in security and defence discussions at this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue, and then it’s on to Hanoi for Track II talks.

The Shangri-La Dialogue is the pre-eminent regional forum for security and defence issues facing the Asia-Pacific region, and it’s an honour to be invited to attend sessions ranging from new strategic technologies and the future of conflict to competition and cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.

Our Track II delegation to Hanoi is being led by the Foundation’s Deputy Chairman Hon Steve Maharey and marks the 10th anniversary of holding dialogues with the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV).

Like New Zealand, Vietnam is navigating increasingly choppy waters between major powers in the Asia-Pacific and there is a lot both countries can learn from each other’s experiences. If past dialogues with the DAV are anything to go by, I’m looking forward to really useful free and frank discussions.

I will update you on how these dialogues went in next month’s newsletter.

Perceptions of Asia

This week, we released the latest Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples research — the annual survey we’ve undertaken every year since 1997 that gives us an idea of how New Zealanders’ feel about Asia.

The survey shows New Zealanders still have relatively low levels of self-assessed knowledge about Asia, lower than what they think they know about Australia, Europe, North America and the South Pacific.

In previous years, we’ve put this, at least in part, down to people’s confidence – we thought it likely people were underestimating their level of Asia knowledge. So this year we ran a general-knowledge quiz about Asia to gauge how much respondents really knew. The questions were not overly difficult and, to be fair, we were surprised by how poorly most people did. The average mark was two correct answers out of six, which seems to suggest New Zealanders are closer to the mark than we had assumed when it comes to gauging their level of Asia knowledge.

The survey also reveals young New Zealanders have particularly low knowledge of Asia compared to the general population. In connection to this, the Foundation has been mapping a pathway that would better equip young New Zealanders with Asia-related knowledge and experiences as they pass through the education system and on to early employment.

We’re calling it #ThinkAsia – a programme we’ll be ramping up in the next few months to help young New Zealanders understand that if they are interested in Asia, want to experience Asia, and keen to equip themselves with Asia-related skills, there is pathway they can tap into.

Simon Draper discusses how the Perceptions of Asia Survey will inform the Foundation's work including the ThinkAsia initiative

The Foundation is looking forward to launching #ThinkAsia and working with others to make sure there is coherency in efforts to grow young New Zealander’s knowledge and confidence about Asia.

I’m really pleased with this year’s media coverage of the Perceptions of Asia survey, with most major newspaper as well as television and radio covering the story. Some 15,000 people attempted the survey quiz on Stuff.

To date, media coverage of the Perceptions of Asia report includes:

Leadership Network induction

Over the weekend, we welcomed 48 new members to the Foundation’s Leadership Network – the global network of young, talented and high-achieving New Zealanders. I am pleased to see the diversity of backgrounds of our new members and am really looking forward to getting to know them and watch their careers develop over the next few years.

Leadership network members talk about why they joined the network

Japan Sports Forum

We took 10 physical education teachers to Tokyo this month as part of our Japan Sports Forum. New Zealand students will be hearing a lot about Japan over the next few years as it hosts four major sporting events: the 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC), the 2020 Summer Olympic Games and Paralympics, and the 2021 World Masters Games.

The Japan Sports Forum was designed to help participants grow their awareness and knowledge of the culture, traditions and society of Japan through a sporting lens. The expectation is that by inspiring and equipping the teachers they will in turn impart their knowledge to their students. Over coming weeks, we will be publishing stories written by the teachers about their experiences in Japan.

Te Kahui Māori

Building on our Foundation hui last year in Rotorua, we met this month with our Leadership Network Te Kahui Māori (Maori caucus) to progress on our commitment to further embed Māori engagement into our work, with a vision of weaving it into our everyday practice. One of the first steps we will take is settling on a Māori name for the Foundation — something that captures what we do and what we hope to accomplish to help New Zealanders thrive in Asia.

New Staff

Our business director Felicity Roxburgh has gone on maternity leave starting this month. The role will be covered by Ziena Jalil who comes from Senate consultancy following time as Education New Zealand’s manager for South and Southeast Asia and formerly Trade Commissioner in Singapore. She is also a longstanding member of the Leadership Network.