Asia increasingly front and centre
for New Zealand’s future

Now in its 26th year, Asia New Zealand Foundation’s annual Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples survey reveals just how critical New Zealanders believe Asia is to New Zealand’s future.

Watch this slideshow for infographics depicting some of the key takeaways from this year's Perceptions of Asia report

Close to two thirds of New Zealanders (65 percent) say that it is more important now for New Zealand to be investing energy and resources into building partnerships with Asian countries than it was five years ago.

The survey also finds that New Zealanders perceive many Asian countries to be friendlier towards New Zealand than in previous years, and that there is significant public support for increasing New Zealand’s economic, political and social ties across the Asia region.   

Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono executive director, Simon Draper, says that the survey shows that while China remains a central part of how New Zealanders are seeing Asia, other countries like Japan, Singapore and South Korea are starting to receive greater attention.

“Our survey data tells us that New Zealanders see value in New Zealand maintaining a range of partnerships across Asia, and that it’s important to have a long-term vision and plan for guiding our engagement with the world’s most dynamic region.”

New Zealanders feel warmer towards countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, and they also see countries such as India to be important partners for New Zealand’s future.

Simon Draper notes: “In contrast, public sentiment towards both Russia and North Korea has sharply declined, while feelings towards China remain mixed.” 

Climate change, fake news and disinformation, a global economic downturn, and cyber-attacks are the top potential threats that New Zealanders worry about.

New Zealanders are also paying attention to rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait; nearly two-thirds of New Zealanders (63 percent) say they are at least ‘fairly concerned’ about the possibility of the outbreak of conflict. 

The Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples survey also provides a snapshot of how New Zealanders are connecting to Asia at an everyday level through media consumption, travel, commerce, cuisine, and popular culture.

“In addition to trade, the last few years have seen New Zealanders’ Asia interests grow in a range of other areas – entertainment, sports, innovation, and culture; a trend likely to continue as the global centre of gravity for these sectors moves increasingly towards Asia” concluded Mr Draper.


About the Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples Survey

Since 1997 the Foundation has undertaken regular research to measure New Zealanders’ perceptions of Asia. The research helps inform the Foundation’s work, but is also used by a range of other sectors, organisations and governments to gauge public sentiment on Asia and better understand how New Zealanders are seeing the Asia region and regional developments.

The Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples survey drew on a nationally representative sample of 2,323 respondents aged 15 years and over. The survey was undertaken between 4 – 30 November 2022. A survey of 2,323 people has a maximum margin of error of +/- 2.0 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

About the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono    

Established in 1994, the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono is New Zealand’s leading authority on Asia. It provides experiences and resources to help New Zealanders build their knowledge, skills and confidence to thrive in Asia. It works in partnership with influential individuals and organisations in New Zealand and Asia.     

For more information, contact the Foundation's director research and engagement Suzannah Jessep at