Seriously Asia Revisited - Society and Culture

The Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono commissioned this paper as one of four thematic reports that revisit the outcomes and recommendations of the 2003 Seriously Asia initiative.

The papers reflect on how the context of New Zealand-Asia relationships have changed since 2003, what has been achieved and what could be done differently going forward. These papers informed a series of four hui held over the course of 2022. More than 25 people attended each hui, sharing their perspectives on the themes and contributing to recommendations on how New Zealand can best engage with Asia in the years ahead.

In this paper prepared for Seriously Asia Revisited, authors Professor Sekhar Bandyopadhyay and Dr Andrew Butcher discuss how New Zealand’s demographic profile has changed in the past two decades and how this has impacted relationships with Asian countries and New Zealand’s cultural landscape. It provides a summary of developments in immigration, international education, education initiatives and the media. The hui for this theme was held on Friday 29 July 2022 in Auckland.

About Seriously Asia Revisited

In 2003, at the request of then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, the Asia New Zealand Foundation — then known as Asia 2000 — ran the Seriously Asia initiative. It was a project designed to inject new ideas and energy into New Zealand’s connections across Asia. The initiative canvassed views from across the country and in Asia; helped to grow New Zealanders’ understanding of the region; and developed a set of recommendations to guide New Zealand’s engagement with Asia in the years that followed.   

In recognition of the far-reaching changes that had taken place in New Zealand and Asia over two decades, in 2022 the Asia New Zealand Foundation launched Seriously Asia Revisited. This project brought together a cross-section of informed voices from across Aotearoa to discuss how best position New Zealand for success in Asia in the coming decades.

Seriously Asia Revisited is structured around the themes of the original Seriously Asia in 2003. As well as Society and Culture, the themes are:

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