As part of the governance changes, we introduced New Zealand-based honorary advisers. On behalf of the board, I express my appreciation for the commitment of these highly respected New Zealanders who share the Foundation’s goal of ‘equipping New Zealanders to thrive in Asia’.
I also welcome our new Asia-based honorary advisers - Dr Pavida Pananond and Dr
Thitinan Pongsudhirak from Thailand, Ms Heekyung Jo Min from South Korea, Hon
Rafidah Aziz from Malaysia, and Mr Guillermo M. Luz from the Philippines, who join our current group of eminent Asia honorary advisers. We look forward to working with them at our hui (meeting) early next year in Auckland.
With the shift in the way we do things, I am pleased to report we had quite a few additional achievements across our programme areas this year.
For our business programme, we offered more business internships in Asia, creating
additional opportunities for young New Zealanders to experience working and living in the region.
As part of our education programme, we exceeded the target number of schools connected to our Educators Network, giving us more coverage in helping increase the Asia capability of teachers.
We published a number of research reports, the two major ones being the annual
‘Perceptions of Asia’ survey and the ‘Asian investment in New Zealand,’ both of which
provide insights and reference points that contribute immensely to the Asia narrative in the country.
We continued to strengthen our cultural and people-to-people ties through our artists-in residence and curators tour under our arts and culture programme, through our ever popular Leadership Network, and the ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative.
We have raised the profile of the Foundation through the work of our communications
team. We are excited about the establishment of the Asia Media Centre to reinforce the Foundation’s position as the first place to go for credible perspectives on Asia-New Zealand relations.
I would like to recognise Executive Director Simon Draper for his energetic leadership and the whole Foundation team for the important work they are doing.
While we have achieved a lot, there is much still to be done. Of considerable advantage, the Foundation has a hard-earned reputation as a credible voice in the national conversation about Asia and its growing relevance to New Zealand.
Finally, on behalf of the Foundation, I thank the Hon Murray McCully for his support
during his tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Hon Gerry Brownlee who took up this role in May 2017.
HON JOHN LUXTON