Simon Draper's Stuff articles

Read Simon Draper's fortnightly Stuff columns looking at some of the big issues connecting New Zealand and Asia.

Simon Draper's 2022 Stuff articles

NZ needs to 'up its game' in toughening trading environment | 4 December

The impact of Asia on New Zealand in the next 20 years will be even greater than the last 20. Asia skills and capability are going to be critical, as are digital skills. Most importantly are the relationships we’ve developed, because at the end of the day Governments don’t trade, people do.

Learning te reo helps us improve our collective language capabilities | September 12

New Zealanders learning te reo is, in my view, a good thing, not only because it protects a taonga and helps us better understand our own country, but also because it improves New Zealand’s collective language capabilities, and therefore, ability to engage out there in the wider world

International students: How changes in Asia could affect how young Kiwis learn | 29 August

Internationally, the pandemic has accentuated existing trends in education. New delivery models have emerged – various online platforms, learning hubs, mobile learning, and virtual reality, to name a few.

What is the plan if NZ's relationship with China goes south? | 15 August

The Asia New Zealand Foundation’s research tells us that the first word New Zealanders associate with Asia is China. Given the rapid growth in the commercial relationship with China over the past two decades, it is no wonder it is front and centre for many New Zealanders

Why knowing history can be crucial for good business relationships | 1 August

New Zealand teachers are now gearing up for a new initiative, the introduction of a history curriculum for Kiwi students.  With all the international instability around at the moment, strong foundations in our relationships help us mitigate some of the risks. Knowing about New Zealand’s historic links to the Asia – and how they have shaped our country – is one such foundation.

Māori have an edge when engaging with Asia, and NZ can't risk losing that | 18 July

Our research indicates that Māori have an edge with engaging with Asia – and we wanted to understand that better. Additionally, we want to ensure more Māori, particularly rangatahi, can access the exciting opportunities that Asia offers, and we want to better represent Aotearoa in our own engagement in the region.

Squid Game and K-pop are a gateway to Asia for young Kiwis | 4 July

Our research shows that young people who develop an interest in an Asian culture – be it through music, film, sport – often go on to learn an Asian language, learn more about an Asian culture or cultures and may even spend a period living in the region.

What can help NZ businesses navigate this time of uncertainty? | 20 June

For three days, Singapore’s government hosted the Shangri-La Dialogue, an event unlike the various economic meetings that happen like Davos or Apec because it focuses on security.

South Korea has a vision for the future. Where is New Zealand's? | 6 May

Last week, I was back in Seoul, and can only say I am humbled by what South Korea has achieved in those 30 years. Food? Choose from hundreds of diverse restaurants. Transport? So many public options I couldn’t try them all. The kilometres of bike paths looked inviting. The city was orderly and so clean it was almost glistening.

New Zealand has much to learn from Asia about digital sustainability, as region embraces 'disruptive, dynamic change' | 23 May

Asia is playing a central role in the development of technologies that still have a futuristic air to them, even if they’re actually in use: blockchain, AI and robotics, 5G wireless and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Asia is not just China: Who else will buy what New Zealand has to sell? | 9 May

Certain words wax and wane in public discourse. One you hear a lot these days is “diversity”. In the New Zealand business context, this tends to describe the desire to see New Zealand diversify its exports. It’s an old adage: don’t put your eggs in one basket.

It's time for NZ businesses to reconnect with Asia in person | 11 April

In the past two years, New Zealanders have become accustomed to our Prime Minister and other government ministers staying at home and focusing on domestic issues. But in the weeks and months ahead that will change, and this is something to be welcomed.

What New Zealand can learn from Australia's free-trade deal with India | 28 March

In New Zealand, we have tended to take a trade-first approach to our relationships in Asia, and that has mostly worked for us. But in the case of India, an FTA is unlikely to be the key that unlocks the door to a bigger, better relationship.

'Same, same, but different’: Lazy Asian tropes damage growing diversity in NZ businesses | 14 March

It strikes me as very odd that at a time when we all seem so desperately keen to differentiate people, we also maintain the habit of lumping huge cohorts together. If we are going to continue on this identity-focussed bandwagon, we might as well try to get some good out of it. For business, this means recognising different skillsets within a diverse workforce, but not using those differences to divide it.

Overseas travel won't be like you remember it | 28 February

All the signs are there that travel won’t be the experience we had become accustomed to pre-pandemic. Planning a trip will now require thinking about testing, isolation requirements, and a whole lot of paperwork (none of this is unfamiliar, of course, to those New Zealanders who have been trying to return via MIQ).

As borders reopen, it's time to strengthen NZ's relationship with Asia | 14 February

While it’s been a bit of a bumpy start to the year, it’ll probably be no surprise to readers that my optimism has been buoyed by the Government’s announcements of the time frames for reopening New Zealand’s borders.

As NZ infrastructure languishes, countries from China to Norway are blazing ahead | 31 January

In New Zealand, we often tell ourselves we are an innovative and clever country. But when it comes to the bricks and mortar side of the economy, we don’t have much to boast about. We risk being outpaced.

Asia elections in 2022 to have flow-on effects in New Zealand | 17 January

Like many people, I’d been hoping the new year might signal a new start, even if only psychologically. That wasn’t to be – Covid cases, New Zealand’s border, the domestic economy and Omicron at our doorstep have continued to dominate the news.


2020 articles

As Christmas nears, we should be counting our blessings | 21 December

Covid-19 vaccines are on the horizon – with vaccines ordered by the Government scheduled to arrive over the course of 2021.

New Zealand needs to learn from the deteriorating China-Australia relationship | 7 December

As we look ahead to APEC 2021, and with the recent appointment of Nanaia Mahuta as our Minister of Foreign Affairs, it’s worth reflecting on the role that Māori play in New Zealand’s international engagement.

Māori values continue to resonate with Asian counterparts | 23 November

As we look ahead to APEC 2021, and with the recent appointment of Nanaia Mahuta as our Minister of Foreign Affairs, it’s worth reflecting on the role that Māori play in New Zealand’s international engagement.

New Zealand-Vietnam relationship a rare positive growth story in 2020 | 9 November

It’s [Vietnam] a rare positive growth story in 2020, and given Vietnam and New Zealand’s shared interests, is also a reminder that New Zealand needs to keep investing in its relationships in Asia – and looking for more opportunities to grow these important partnerships.

Asia the key playmaker in New Zealand's economic future post-Covid | 26 October

With New Zealand’s election done and dusted, many eyes will move to the United States presidential election on November 3. In the normal course of affairs, New Zealand politics doesn’t really rate much of a mention on the world stage, whereas what happens in the US has tangible impact on other countries right around the globe.

Unlike other countries, in NZ voting is a right - don't take it for granted | 12 October

One of a democracy’s most vital jobs is staging a free and fair election, and in some parts of the world the challenge presented by Covid-19 continues to disrupt and compromise electoral campaigns, and the polls themselves.

New Zealand's ties with Asia not just about Auckland | 28 September

When we talk about New Zealand’s relationship with Asia, Auckland often dominates the conversation. And there’s no question that city has changed significantly in recent decades. But we shouldn’t overlook the fact that New Zealand’s growing links with Asia have had an impact right across the country.

Warnings of China using trade as a weapon ring hollow | 14 September

It’s encouraging to know that when barriers are reduced, playing fields levelled and New Zealand can play to its comparative advantages, we can compete successfully, despite distance and a small domestic market.

Tension over TikTok shows value of digital trade | 31 August

Social media is a force to be reckoned with, a democratised space where everyone can have a voice. And it can highlight injustices and mobilise movements. It can also be used to control the narrative, as a source of information – or misinformation.

Lessons from Asia on technology, IP transfer as NZ rebuilds economy from Covid-19 | 17 August

For the first time in living memory, the political debate is not about whether the Government should spend money. Both major parties agree on that. The question is: Spending on what?

Relationships with Asia may bear fruit in era of vaccine diplomacy | 3 August

After weeks of what has often seemed to be unrelentingly bad news about Covid-19, many of us would have been buoyed that two vaccine trials have shown promising results.

When New Zealand opens for business again, young Kiwis will help pave the way | 20 July

As New Zealand approaches our general election, and amid potentially heated discussions about the best way forward in our economic recovery, it’s important to keep young people central to the discussions about the country’s future.

It is important for Kiwi businesses to keep an eye on Covid developments in Asia | 6 July

Amid this comfortable ‘normality’ here in New Zealand it can be all too easy to forget that basic health concerns continue to be top-of-mind for hundreds of millions – in fact billions – of people around the world.

Coronavirus: Increased understanding of Asia a silver lining of pandemic | 22 June

Working with Colmar Brunton, we asked more than 2000 New Zealanders a raft of questions about Asia, including how much they felt they knew about the region; what countries they had travelled to; and whether they could identify six Asian countries on a map.

NZ's economic future depends on the success and failures of Asia | 8 June

While businesses are rightly focused on these issues and the changes Covid-19 is forcing on us here in New Zealand, it is useful to cast around our region to see what else is going on.

Globalisation makes us more prosperous | 25 May

Internationally, many governments are facing calls to move the production of their goods onshore and lessen their reliance on other nations, particularly when it comes to goods that contribute to the safety and security of their country.

Coronavirus: No business as usual while Asian trading partners grappling with Covid-19 | 11 May

New Zealand hasn’t heard much about how Covid-19 is affecting people and businesses on the ground in Asia, home to most of New Zealand’s top 10 trading partners. To get some real-time and real-life insights, Asia New Zealand Foundation surveyed some of our business stakeholders in the region.

Coronavirus: How we understand and engage with Asia is more important than ever | 27 April

Since New Zealand has been in lockdown, Statistics New Zealand has put out several information releases that tell us a fair bit about New Zealand's connections with Asia.

New Zealand film industry could learn from Asia in post-Covid-19 world, Asia expert says | 13 April

The Covid-19 lockdown has left us at sixes and sevens, and while we probably all had good intentions to use this extra time at home to complete neglected DIY tasks or start ambitious fitness regimes, Netflix and other on-demand entertainment are in fact far more tempting.

Coronavirus: The untold story of New Zealanders losing overseas friends, colleagues to Covid-19 | 30 March

The backdrop for this column is in stark contrast to others I have written, in my office, in hotel rooms in Manila or Delhi, or on planes.

The anniversary of the Christchurch terror attack reminds us of our shared humanity | 16 March

Over the weekend, New Zealand marked the first anniversary of the March 15 attacks on Christchurch mosques. It was an opportunity for Aotearoa to take a look at itself again and ask whether our communities are safe, inclusive and healthy. 

NZ's Indian delegation unlikely to result in a trade agreement but all is not lost | 2 March

I'm writing this column from New Delhi, where I am part of a delegation accompanying Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker.

Coronavirus not an 'us' and 'them' situation, says Asia expert | 17 February

A mere few weeks after coronavirus entered the international limelight, and a fortnight after New Zealand introduced border restrictions, we're now beginning to tally some of the initial costs. Both the human and financial. 

Spread of coronavirus highlights how small our world has become | 3 February 

The emergence of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV and its spread to both close and distant countries demonstrates the incredibly interconnected world we all live in.

Protests, trade and assertiveness for Asia in the next decade | 21 January

At the outset of the 2020s, rather than reflect on the previous decade, I thought it might be useful to have a bit of an Asia horizon scan.

2021 articles

Asia New Zealand Foundation executive director Simon Draper

Asia New Zealand Foundation executive director Simon Draper

Looking for balance in the changing world of work

After nearly two years of Covid-19, the world has seen transformational changes in workplaces. We’re spending more of our lives on screens, and less on commutes. Across the world, the pandemic has opened up opportunities for many, but also exacerbated existing inequalities, particularly for women.

Misinformation is dangerous, but so are limits on free speech | 22 November

In some parts of Asia, the online circulation of religious intolerance and hate speech has become a real problem, with Facebook facing criticism of its failures to monitor and remove inflammatory content, particularly in India.

Why Asia must be invited when New Zealand reopens | 8 November

At some point New Zealand will reopen to the world. We will again start inviting overseas visitors to these shores and start venturing out ourselves. Asia has to be part of the mix – New Zealand will be all the poorer if it isn’t.

Fostering personal business links key to South Island's Asia trade | 25 October

We commissioned Christchurch-based company Research First to speak with South Island businesses on our behalf. It spoke to 150 companies – 115 with established links to Asia and 35 that wanted to establish links – representing a diverse range of sectors. These went beyond primary production and tourism to other areas, including technology, scientific services and manufacturing.

Our island nation's place in the newly-coined 'Indo-Pacific' | 11 October

During this global pandemic, the EU is continuing to keep a focus on the opportunities in our neighbourhood and has made a tangible plan for how it engages with the Indo-Pacific. And the EU, a continent of 450 million, sees New Zealand, an island of five million, as a partner in this. That is a partnership New Zealand should embrace.

Aukus will change our relationship with Australia — that much is certain | 27 September

Australia’s decision to build nuclear-powered submarines as part of a security partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom – Aukus – caught commentators in the international policy world by surprise. It’s a decision that has many implications, most of which are simply unknown. Anyone professing what this will all mean is, at best, guessing.

Covid-19 may consume our daily lives, but we shouldn't forget about events abroad | 13 September

At a time when New Zealand’s Government is encouraging businesses to diversify markets – and many of those same businesses are already struggling with labour and with product supply issues – it can be a stretch to look beyond the immediate needs and out across our region.

We need to increase our export opportunities, not isolate ourselves from the world

For all the angst about globalisation over the past few decades, the integration of economies across the Asia-Pacific has led to increases in living standards unprecedented in human history.

New Zealand's rich relationship with an evolving Japan offers opportunities | 2 August

For New Zealand, the Olympics provides an opportunity to look at the importance of our own relationship with Japan.

Asia and Asian New Zealanders' still lacking visibility in mainstream media | 19 July

In New Zealand, we should be able to turn on the TV or radio and get content that reflects Asia’s importance to New Zealand. That also signifies that Asian New Zealanders matter as an audience – and helps all of us get out of our information bubbles.

The Australia-China relationship may indicate what is to come for New Zealand | 5 July

During my time at the Asia New Zealand Foundation, I’ve tried to visit Australia every year or so, because we often find that the conversations Australians have about Asia cross the Tasman within a matter of months.

Interest in Asian culture and diversity will put New Zealand in good economic stead for the future | 21 June

The latest findings in our tracking survey, New Zealanders’ Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples, were released last week. While concerns about China featured heavily in the coverage, there were some more encouraging data in the report that is worth highlighting.

Growth in New Zealand's art sector a silver lining of the pandemic | 8 June

The role that the arts play in communicating across borders and cultures, and reflecting and leading changes in society, is only set to grow further. New Zealand’s creative sectors will increasingly find themselves working in and with Asia.

Super apps are coming – and you'd better be ready | 24 May

Inevitably, we will be living more of our lives on apps and technology in the near future; that train has left the station. Asia is at the forefront of these innovations, and will increasingly be a key player in how we interact in the digital world.

New Zealand Inc needs its workers to be multi-lingual | 10 May

When it comes to our international engagement, we have to be able to communicate effectively with others who have different world views, and understand their perspectives, even if at times we don’t agree with them. Language and cultural skills are at the heart of that.

Navigating our complex relationship with China | 12 April

One trend we calculate is likely to continue is that the discussion about China and about New Zealand’s relationship with our largest trading partner gets more heated, and at times difficult. New Zealand is, of course, not alone in this.

Asian meat substitutes give food for thought | 29 March

From lab-grown meat and plant-based proteins to crop-management apps and streamlining of supply chains for resilience, there is rapid growth and innovation happening around food.

'Vaccine nationalism' may lead to further issues down the road | 15 March

At the geopolitical level, concerns about “vaccine nationalism” are growing. Governments have been under pressure to secure doses for their citizens, and many hedged their bets with multiple suppliers to ensure they could supply their own populations

Entrepreneurial Asia buzzing with green start-ups and ambitious climate change targets | 1 March

I’m often struck by how many New Zealanders still think of Asia as it was 20 or 30 years ago – cheap holidays, food and goods.  That is, however, an increasingly narrow view of Asia, which is now the powerhouse of innovation, technology, and change. 

Contribution of Asian communities to our economy is often overlooked | 15 February

Now New Zealand is about to embark on making our history a core subject for young New Zealanders. To the average person, learning more about our history sounds simple and sensible. The trouble, of course, is: whose version of history? It has been that nut most governments have been unwilling to crack, up until now.

2020 shows Asian migrants aren't to blame for house prices | 1 February

For the past decade, migrants – and particularly those from Asia – have been all-too-frequently blamed for housing unaffordability and accommodation shortages. Recent months have sharply revealed the issue of skyrocketing house prices is far more complex.

Biden's America will call on New Zealand for Asia Pacific support | 18 January

What we do know is that with a return of many US officials from the Obama era, we can expect the new Biden administration to have some asks of New Zealand.

2019 articles

 Kiwi businesses need to make big decisions as New Zealand builds ties with Asia (16 December)

New Zealand's travel and tourism statistics show a link between direct flights from Asia and tourism numbers. But of course it's about more than pure numbers.

Asia's long-term planning is paying off; New Zealand must learn from it (2 December 2019)

While New Zealand stutters along playing catch up on infrastructure projects, some countries in Asia are surging ahead with ambitious projects – breath-taking infrastructure builds, clean energy initiatives, urban planning. Many of these projects anticipate needs that are decades in the future.

Southeast Asian tourism entrepreneurs learning from Māori-owned businesses (18 November)

It was with a real sense of pride that I met a group of Southeast Asia entrepreneurs we were hosting at the New Zealand Tourism Awards last month as they capped off a week of learning in Auckland, Rotorua and Christchurch.

New Zealanders need to be willing to hear more Asian perspectives (4 November)

New Zealand, as an island nation, has certain characteristics. One is that we have the habit of looking inwards and talking to ourselves about business. Nothing gets us fired up like domestic angles on regulation, interest rates or infrastructure, and we talk until the cows come home (or are milked at least) about New Zealand's own economy.

The next generation is learning about Asia in different ways (21 October)

Today's young people are exposed to Asian influences several times a day, and while there's still a way to go on understanding Asian peoples and cultures at a deeper level, this exposure does give the next generation an advantage. 

Getting strategic about New Zealand's sister cities (7 October)

Every now and again, spending on sister city relationships is splashed across the front page of local papers. There's something about politicians' overseas jaunts that gets under ratepayers' skin. But while putting a dollar value on the relationships can be helpful, and accountability for public money is vital, the criticism can often miss the point.

NZ's relationship with Japan is strong but there is opportunity to grow (23 September)

New Zealand businesses and agencies have clearly recognised that Japan's hosting of the Rugby World Cup provides opportunities to raise the New Zealand brand.

Why Singapore holds such appeal for New Zealanders (9 September)

From a New Zealander's perspective, Asia can be overwhelming.That's perhaps why Singapore holds so much appeal to us. It's an island nation smaller than Lake Taupō where most people speak English, that's good for shopping and easy to do business in.

New Zealand and Sri Lanka share similarities across sport and business (26 August)

Whatever you recall about Sri Lanka, it is a relationship New Zealand has good reason to invest effort in.

China interference in Hong Kong protest in New Zealand unhelpful (12 August)

As an ex-diplomat, a key tenant of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is the principle that you don't interfere in the domestic affairs of your host state.

Sport an insight into the national psyche (29 Jul) 

 If there were ever any doubt that sport and business are inextricably linked, it's surely been put to bed after this month's world cups

Kiwis' knowledge about our global neighbours better than ever before (15 July)

We've just released the findings in our tracking survey New Zealanders' Perceptions of Asia, our annual mood-check of how New Zealanders feel about Asia.

A China-US trade deal could be a threat to New Zealand's exports (1 July)

Almost a year ago today, I wrote in this column that New Zealand and Asia were living in the ominous shadow of a "trade war". In the months following, the United States-China trade war evolved into reality, amid successive tariff hikes by each country.

New Zealand's future leaders are going to look, think and behave differently (17 June)

The picture of what New Zealand leaders are is changing – and is only set to change more. At the Asia New Zealand Foundation, events we've held over the past couple of weeks have given us the opportunity to reflect on how New Zealand's leadership might look profoundly different in the future.

Asia's battle for democracy is a lesson for New Zealand (3 June)

Over the centuries, millions of people have fought and died for the right to even hold elections. Yet here in New Zealand, it is hard to get people to spare 15 minutes every three years to tick a couple of boxes. And it is easy to take for granted that this is all that is needed for a functioning democracy.

The tech sector won't wait for us to catch up (20 May)

I continue to be awed by the scale of enterprise and the innovation that's coming out of the technology sector in Asia. While I'm still waiting for the Jetson car and teleporter promised in my childhood, there's some fascinating developments in technology that Asia is at the centre of.  

Kiwi leaders blind to power and reach of Asian social media in New Zealand (4 May)

For a growing number of Kiwis, keeping in touch with friends and family, talking to business partners and keeping up with the news doesn't just involve Facebook or Twitter, but also the likes of WeChat, WhatsApp, Line and KakaoTalk. 

Let's export New Zealand fashion to Asia (22 April)

In years gone by when Asia was mentioned in the context of clothing and fashion, our minds immediately leapt to sweatshops in China, or polluted rivers outside factories, or Indian farmers poisoned by the pesticides used to make cotton.

Messages of condolence from Asia in the wake of the Christchurch attacks went unreported (25 March)

Friday 15 March started off much like any other at the Asia New Zealand Foundation. I met with colleagues to talk about upcoming events: an incoming delegation from Vietnam visiting for a dialogue, the possibility of new initiatives with Timor Leste.

Māori at an advantage in engagement with Asia trade (11 March)

I'm going to be unabashed in my promotion of a piece of good news this week. We now have the data to show that Māori can succeed in their engagement with Asia and Asian peoples – and already do

Asia turned out to be bigger than we all anticipated - NZ needs to get on board (25 February)

It's fair to say New Zealand's relationship with China feels a bit angsty at the moment. I'm not going to talk about that too much in this column – if there's anything good to come out of the last fortnight, it's that we've seen a wide range of voices discuss the issues from multiple perspectives. 

There's reason to be optimistic about trade in 2019  (11 February)

New Zealand export businesses have had a period of relative certainty in recent years. We knew China would keep growing; that there were some clear, if imperfect, rules to rely on; and that if New Zealand came up with good products there would likely be willing buyers paying a good price.

Challenges and opportunity await in Asia for business people willing to learn (28 January)

While most of us have been enjoying long summer days and perhaps a slower pace to the working day, a group of hand-picked young New Zealanders have been settling into their internships at businesses across Asia. Each year the Asia New Zealand Foundation sends about 18 interns to get three months' work experience with some of Asia's leading companies.

2018 articles

South Korea is a friend, and we need friends - 10 December 2018

It's not every day the President of South Korea visits New Zealand, as he did last week. Indeed, the last time was nearly a decade ago.

Apec, CPTPP, RCEP: The alphabet soup nourishing NZ's economy - 26 November 2018 

Every profession has its own language: law, journalism, hospitality, medicine – and of course business. Often these acronyms can serve to keep people "out", or at least uninformed.

The Philippines: It's got a lot more to offer than that shoe collection - 29 Oct 2018

When asked to think of the Philippines, many Kiwis will recall former first lady Imelda Marcos' shoe collection. The Marcos' luxurious lifestyle of the 1980s was at odds with high levels of poverty, unemployment and inflation experienced by much of the population.  

New Zealand is finding its place in a quickly changing world - 15 Oct 2018

As a strong believer that New Zealand can often learn a lot from looking across the Tasman, just over a year ago I visited Australia to get a sense of how our neighbour sees its relationship with Asia.

Rugby World Cup boost to Japan-NZ special relationship - 30 Sept 2018

From a New Zealand perspective, the exploits of our All Blacks, Olympians and Paralympians in Japan will be at the heart of many conversations, and this increased profile will give us a unique opportunity to help Kiwis grow their knowledge and deepen their connections with Japan.

Kiwis be warned: the global jobs market demands polyglots - 17 Sept 2018

For some years now, the Foundation has been advocating for a more deliberate and sustainable approach to language learning in schools. We need a national languages policy.

China's mysterious Belt and Road Initiative - 20 Aug 2018

If you've hosted any visitors from China lately, you may have felt like they were talking a mysterious new language. Conversations with Chinese guests have been increasingly peppered with the phrase the "belt and road initiative", often shortened to BRI.

Exporters in the regions are getting to grips with Asia - 23 July 2018

It's all too easy to simply think of New Zealand's relationship with Asia as an Auckland story. Visiting other parts of the country is a good reminder of just how wrong that idea is.

NZ must not become casualty of US-China trade war - 9 July 2018
I'm writing this column under the shadow of an impending and uncertain United States and China trade war. Economies throughout the Asia-Pacific are grappling with the possible ramifications. 

International consumers have similar tastes but different motivations - 25 June 2018
More than 130,000 New Zealanders headed along to Fieldays this month, taking the opportunity to get a taste of the future of farming and the future of food.

Young leaders are building strong ties with Asia - 11 June 2018
The Foundation's Leadership Network is a snapshot of a new generation of leader – and they're helping change the way New Zealand sees itself in relationship to Asia. 

Selling NZ to India: It's not all about dairy - 14 May, 2018 
For us in New Zealand, we look around and see Australian and the Pacific. In India, looking west means looking to Pakistan and looking north means looking to China – countries that India generally sees as a threat in one way or another.

NZ-India relationship about more than cricket - 30 April, 2018
I write this week's column from Delhi in India, a bustling metropolis of 19 million people, and millions more if you take in the surrounding areas.

New Zealand must hedge its best to protect the economy - 20 April, 2018
Watching some of the certainties in the economic world come under strain – with the risks of a trade war between US and China being openly discussed – I've been reflecting on the value of hedging...

Tale of two presidents speaks volumes about New Zealand's attitude to Asia - 2 April, 2018
I couldn't help but be struck by the fact of the amazing amount of coverage given to someone who is an ex-president compared to a current president who visited New Zealand in the same week. That coverage speaks volumes about the real level of interest that New Zealand has in Asia.

New Zealand an honest broker with a big role in shaping Asia - 19 March, 2018
A recurring sentiment expressed by the Foundation's Honorary Advisers was that New Zealand is perceived in Asia as an 'honest broker'.

Asia relationship needs more than dairy - 19 February, 2018
As New Zealand starts to enter its peak arts and culture season, with festivals aplenty around the country, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how New Zealand's arts and culture engagement with Asia enriches our understanding of the region.

Big hopes for Asia trade deal - 5 February, 2018
Much of New Zealand's engagement with Asia is often seen through an economic lens. I have argued there is much more to the relationships than economics. But for many, the business side is what counts most.

Business leaders must speak up for Asia-competent workforce - 1 February
We know Asian cultures put a premium on relationships. With that in mind, I have advocated a more mature New Zealand approach — one that fosters building deep relationships and understanding over the long-term, rather than on short-term financial gains.

2017 articles

We need to talk about tourism - 18 December, 2017
To me, our tourism industry is like a goose that is metaphorically laying golden eggs for us. We know of course what happened to the goose in the fable — its owners got greedy and it was killed.

Singapore - an increasingly important, impressive trade partner for New Zealand - 4 December, 2017 
As a small country, it's tempting to use our size as an excuse for not being able to do things. Perhaps we can take a page from Singapore's book which tells us size doesn't always matter?

We aren't recognising Asian children's potential - 20 November, 2017
The findings of the Starting Strong: Nurturing the potential of our Asian under-fives report were a sobering reminder that we need to up our game if we don't want New Zealanders to miss out on the opportunities the rise of Asia brings.

Asia-Pacific challenges for Ardern's government - 6 November, 2017
Now that the election dust has settled and as new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her team buckle down to running the country, among the first things they will need to get their heads around are Asia-Pacific regional issues…

Diwali festival shows cultural diversity of modern NZ – 23 October, 2017  
Growing up in Auckland, the annual cultural highlight was the Easter Show or maybe the Santa parade. I thought about this when I attended the opening of the Auckland Diwali Festival last weekend and witnessed the amazing energy, vivid colours and dazzling performances of this annual celebration...

The power of social enterprise – 9 October, 2017
One of the great things about this job at the Asia New Zealand Foundation is you get to meet interesting people and you learn new things. That is important because in the business world if you are not moving forward you are going backwards...

Why North Korea matters to New Zealanders – 11 September, 2017
In previous columns, I've talked about how our research shows that while most New Zealanders view Asia as important to New Zealand's future, two-thirds of us say we know little or nothing about the region. Our Perceptions of Asia survey also tells us that much of what New Zealanders do know about Asia comes from the media...

South Island visit offers different perspective on Asian business – 28 August, 2017
Last week I was in Christchurch for the South Island launch of our research on Asian investment in New Zealand…

Getting among it key to success in Asian markets – 11 August, 2017
Earlier this year, Auckland University student Jay Sinclair spent three months in Ho Chi Minh City, working for global professional services company KPMG through an Asia New Zealand Foundation internship…

School leavers are not Asia-ready- 31 July, 2017
A few weeks ago, Asia New Zealand Foundation staff travelled to Rotorua's Taheke Marae for a hui on our engagement with Maori. We were lucky enough to have three young people with us, the children of Josh Wharehinga, one of the members of our Leadership Network's Māori caucus...

 Australia's Asia debate worryingly polarising – 17 July, 2017
I'm often annoyed when I hear people claim "New Zealand is lucky.  It's as if we have somehow stumbled upon this fortunate lifestyle most New Zealanders enjoy, or that our success internationally in innovation, sport, arts and science is mere chance...

Twenty years on from the Hong Kong handover – 3 July, 2017
Remember the "Y2K" computer bug panic of 1999? The fear a coding problem in computer systems could create untold havoc as clocks ticked over into the new millennium?..

Be aware of uncertainty in Asia – 19 June, 2017
As part of the Asia New Zealand Foundation's education programme we've been trying to produce informative maps to help Kiwi school kids learn more about the countries of Asia. We've completed four of these so far. You might think it would be a simple enough task...

Why are we afraid of Asian investment? – 5 June, 2017
Back in the 1980s, Kiwi meat company Anzco Foods found itself facing an attempted takeover amid dramatic economic reforms...

Valued relationship with Japan needs rekindling – 22 May, 2017
I have returned from a visit to Japan as part of Prime Minister Bill English’s delegation. I was the only representative from an NGO to travel as part of the delegation – and the Japanese I met remarked how good it was to see the Asia New Zealand Foundation included...

More to Asia than immigration – 8 May, 2017
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with an old acquaintance I hadn't seen for a while. When I told him I worked at the Asia New Zealand Foundation, he replied: "Well, I'm not sure we need that. Seems like we already have enough Asians in New Zealand"...

"'s interesting to reflect that when we talk about Asia and New Zealand, immigration is often the first thing that pops into people's heads."

 Southeast Asia deserves our attention – 24 April, 2017
What do you think of when you think of Southeast Asia? Holidays in Bali or Lombok? Night markets, tropical fruits and cheap food?

Asia conversations must expand – 3 April, 2017
There's no way I could write this column without mentioning the recent visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang…

Kiwis need more confidence with Asia – 20 March, 2017
In 1984 I kicked off my big OE with a trip to Hong Kong and China. I could speak only one Chinese phrase...The Asia New Zealand Foundation has just released the latest findings in its New Zealanders' Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples survey...

Asia - what are we missing out on? – 6 March, 2017
My father was in the exporting business. Just before my 10th birthday, he brought home a toy samurai helmet given to him by a Japanese businessman. My mother, then in her mid-forties, was less than enthused about this gift. She recalled her WWII childhood, lying awake at night worried about Japanese mini subs coming into the Waitemata Harbour.…