Simon Draper's November 2019 update

The highlight for me over a busy month was bringing together our “25 Young People to Watch” to be presented with their certificates at an event at Parliament.
A group photo in Parliaments old debating chamber of the 25 to Watch recipients, Winston Peters, Simon Draper and John Luxton

The 25 to Watch recipients with Simon Draper, the Rt Hon Winston Peters and the Hon John Luxton

As part of our 25th anniversary celebrations, the Foundation wanted to recognise the next generation of young people leading the way in building New Zealand-Asia connections.

We had so many fantastic applications it was hard to narrow the group down to just 25, but we feel we got a great mix of inspirational people across the five categories.

These 25 young people, whom you can read about here, have demonstrated maturity beyond their years and have already achieved some astounding things. We look forward to watching them develop and go on to more accomplishments.

I’d like to thank the Rt Hon Winston Peters for presenting the 25-to-Watch certificates and for his speech in which he recognised the Foundation as “New Zealand’s leading non-partisan, non-profit authority on Asia”, noting the “cumulative investment in our young people has been a theme of the Foundation’s activities over the years.”

I’d also like to acknowledge the other members of parliament who attended, including our host for the evening, and Leadership Network member, Priyanca Radhakrishnan.

It was great to see so many key figures from the Foundation’s past and present at the event, including Honorary Advisers and board members as well as the Hon Philip Burdon and Richard Nottage who played such pivotal roles in establishing the Foundation back in 1994.

And last, but not least, I’d like to thank Leadership Network member Florence Van Dyke for MCing – you did a great job!

Young Business Leaders Initiative extended to include North Asia

During a bilateral visit to South Korea last month, Foreign Minister Peters announced the Foundation would be extending its Young Business Leaders Initiative (YBLI) to encompass North Asia, specifically South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. Up to now, the programme has focussed exclusively on ASEAN countries.

Speaking at the newly-established Center for Oceania Studies at Yonsei University in Seoul, Mr Peters noted the establishment of Foundation’s North Asia YBLI programme as one of the recent developments marking increasingly close ties between New Zealand and South Korea.

The addition of North Asia to the Young Business Leaders Initiative comes off the back of the success of the ASEAN YBLI, which has been a key part of the New Zealand Government’s ASEAN strategy since the initiative was established in 2012.

To date, the initiative has taken 51 young New Zealand entrepreneurs to Southeast Asia to connect with fellow entrepreneurs and learn about doing business in the region and brought 112 Southeast Asian entrepreneurs to New Zealand.

The first North Asia YBLI visit will take place early next year with a group of baby-and-infant-sector entrepreneurs visiting South Korea where they will learn about the sector there, attend the country’s largest baby-and-infant-sector expo and make industry connections.

On the subject of the Young Business Leaders Initiative, last month was a busy one with eight Southeast Asian tourism entrepreneurs visiting New Zealand and a group of Kiwi social enterprise entrepreneurs travelling to Vietnam. 

The Southeast Asian tourism entrepreneurs visited Auckland, Rotorua and Christchurch, where they learnt about the New Zealand tourism sector and shared their knowledge of developments in Asian tourism trends with local businesses.

Luke Rikiti addressing an audience from a lectern with three of the Southeast Asian entrepreneurs beside him

Leadership Network member Luke Rikiti introducing three of the entrepreneurs to an audience in Rotorua

I caught up with the group in Christchurch at the New Zealand Tourism Awards and it was encouraging to hear that they see New Zealand as a trendsetter in the tourism sector, especially for cultural and sustainable tourism, where Māori tourism operators are leading the way.

I won’t go into the social entrepreneurs Vietnam visit, but if you’d like to find out more, you can read about it here.

Honorary Adviser Jo Min's New Zealand visit 

Finally, I’d like to quickly mention our honorary adviser Heekyung (Jo) Min’s visit to New Zealand earlier this month and thank her for finding time for us in her busy schedule.

Jo is executive vice-president and head of corporate social responsibility at CJ CheilJedang, a large Korean lifestyle conglomerate. We brought her to New Zealand to speak at the annual conference of the Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand where she addressed an audience on how businesses can contribute to social and environmental goals while also increasing profitability.

As I mentioned in my last Stuff article, there is huge value in having someone of Jo’s calibre here to share her knowledge and shed light on business trends in Asia. To combat the absence of high-calibre speakers from Asia who can provide such insights to a New Zealand audience we are looking to facilitate more speaking engagements from Asia business leaders through our Asia business and economic thought leaders fund.

Hope you all have a great November and I look forward to touching base with you about Foundation activities next month.

Ngā mihi,

 Simon Draper