New Zealanders’ Perceptions of
Asia and Asian Peoples 2011 Survey

This report presents the 2011 results of the annual ‘Perceptions of Asia’ research conducted for the Asia New Zealand Foundation. It is an up-to-date snapshot of public opinion surrounding New Zealand’s relationship with Asia and the importance of Asia to New Zealand’s future, and public perceptions regarding the people of Asia and how they contribute to New Zealand.

More than four out of five New Zealanders (83 percent) saw the Asian region as important to New Zealand’s future (46 percent saw it as very important).

Consistent with previous years’ results, the Asian region was rated as more important than Europe (69 percent rated this region as important), North America (59 percent), South Pacific (51 percent), South America (31 percent) and Africa (16 percent). Only Australia was rated as more important to New Zealand’s future than Asia (88 percent).

The 2011 results showed significant increases in the perceived importance of nearly all other regions measured through the survey, including Asia, which was at the highest level since the research began.

Those who took part in our online qualitative forum pointed to a number of reasons for this, including a more positive and optimistic public sentiment (due partly to the Rugby World Cup) and more awareness of economic and financial links between Asia and New Zealand, and that New Zealand’s growth was partly reliant on economic growth in Asia.