Report highlights New Zealanders’ growing interest in Asian arts

A new report commissioned by the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono, New Waves: Meeting the growing hunger for Asian art in Aotearoa finds increasing interest in Asian arts and cultural experiences among New Zealanders.


Authored by Rosabel Tan, it highlights the potential for Asian art and entertainment to foster deeper social connections and increase meaningful cultural and societal understandings of Asia in Aotearoa New Zealand.

"For the past three decades, the Asia New Zealand Foundation has been dedicated to deepening knowledge and building connections between New Zealand and Asia," says Suzannah Jessep, chief executive of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

"New Waves: Meeting the growing hunger for Asian art in Aotearoa offers unique insights into New Zealand's changing relations with and in Asia through the arts, and how those relations are transforming the creative landscape within New Zealand" adds Craig Cooper, Director of Arts at the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

The report highlights a global shift in cultural influences, with Asian artistic expressions gaining greater recognition internationally. This shift is reflected in New Zealand, where mediums like K-Pop, Anime and Bollywood are finding a wider audience, but also influencing what New Zealand artists are producing.

However, the report also reveals a significant gap between the growing interest and the current offerings available. Author Rosabel Tan notes, "New Zealanders are eager to engage with Asian art in various forms, and yet this demand remains unmet."

The report proposes practical recommendations to address this gap and encourage deeper engagement with Asian art.

Watch a video of the panel discussion held at the PANNZ Arts Market to launch the New Waves report

Recommendations for policymakers:

  • Invest in the development of intercultural fluency.
  • Invest in strategic incubators for the development of Aotearoa-specific work.
  • Support deeper approaches to the presentation of work.

Recommendations for Art Institutions, Programmers, Curators and Artistic Directors:

  • Implement a more nuanced approach to presenting Asian art.
  • Invest in artists they believe in.
  • Invest in developing collective cultural fluency needed to enable the work to soar.
  • Establish accessible platforms and initiatives for New Zealanders to regularly connect with and experience Asian art and culture.

Rosabel Tan adds, "As countries across Asia invest in their creative industries, we have a powerful opportunity in Aotearoa to respond to and harness this. The benefits are not only economic but also sociocultural, fostering a deeper sense of social cohesion, community and belonging."

The report contains a funding guide available on the Foundation’s website. The guide offers practical advice for artists looking to start or enhance their engagement with Asia.

New Waves features interviews with experts across Asia, New Zealand and Australia as well as case studies on Japan, Korea, India and Australia.

For more information, contact:    
Graeme Acton
Manager, Asia Media Centre     
Telephone: 64 4 471 2320