In May, the results of our first stakeholder survey since 2013 affirmed the work we are doing in many ways, with 94 percent of the 360 respondents saying they would recommend the Foundation to others.
This feedback puts the Foundation in a good position to grow, and as such there is work
underway to establish a presence in the South Island in the next financial year.
While this possibility had been on the table before the events of March 15 in Christchurch, the sense
that this was the right move for the Foundation was cemented after the terror attacks.
I have been privileged to be involved with some of the Foundation’s day-to-day activities in the last year and I have seen for myself the value of building understanding between cultures.
It was with great pleasure that I attended the Te Ao Māori hui, a large gathering of the Foundation’s Leadership Network. The hui was an opportunity for the group to learn more about Te Ao Māori, reflect on their own connections, and think about how they might represent New Zealand better in Asia with that understanding. I left feeling the future of the New Zealand-Asia relationship was in great hands.
I was also a member of a Track II delegation to China in September last year, which was a chance to talk about the way New Zealand and China are navigating trade challenges. The US-China trade wars dominated the discussions then, and indeed China has dominated much of the news about Asia in New Zealand the last year.
The Foundation recognises there are changes happening in the Asia region, and is conscious of its role in working with wider NZ Inc to enhance New Zealand’s reputation and New Zealanders continue to have positive engagement in the region.
Special thanks to Simon Draper and the excellent team of staff we have at the Foundation; their dedication and drive continue to lift the role and profile of our organisation.
I want to give thanks to my board members and the Honorary Advisers for their contributions. The Foundation is stronger for the valuable guidance, support and expertise you offer.
I’d like to make particular mention of former deputy chairman Hon Steve Maharey for his work in the last five years, and to welcome incoming trustee Hon Dame Fran Wilde.
We have also welcomed several new Honorary Advisers and, to them, I look forward to working with you: Dr Reuben Abraham (India), Ms Helianti Hilman (Indonesia), Ms Adaljiza Magno (Timor Leste), Mr Senaka Silva (Sri Lanka) and Ms Annie Wu Suk-Ching (Hong Kong).
Lastly, our sincere gratitude to the Rt Hon Winston Peters for his ongoing support of the Foundation’s important work.