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New Executive Director for Asia New Zealand Foundation

New Executive Director for Asia New Zealand Foundation

John McKinnon, a former Ambassador to China and currently Secretary of Defence, is to be the new Executive Director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation. He replaces Dr Richard Grant, who is retiring.

In announcing the appointment today, Philip Burdon, Chairman of the Foundation, said that he was delighted to have found such a suitable person to take over the direction of the Foundation.

“John McKinnon comes to this position, not only with a strong record of management at the most senior levels of the public service, but also with a deep knowledge of Asia, particularly China, where he served as New Zealand Ambassador from 2001 to 2004.”

Mr McKinnon speaks and reads Chinese, having studied the language whilst in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and having twice been posted to Beijing. He has also had wide professional experience of dealing with other countries in Asia during his career, having been at one stage Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade responsible for Asia.

“There has never been a time when deepening New Zealand’s relations with Asia has been so important to New Zealand’s future”, Mr Burdon said. “The Foundation is the leading institution outside Government to promote New Zealanders’ engaging with the countries, cultures, and peoples of the Asian region. The future of this country is intimately connected to developments in this region. The Foundation is committed to supporting the Government’s initiatives in this area. John McKinnon will provide the right sort of leadership to continue the successful work of the Foundation.”

Mr McKinnon will take up his position on the completion of his term as Secretary of Defence later this year.

The Asia New Zealand Foundation, founded in 1994, is the leading public-private organisation in this country involved in increasing New Zealanders’ knowledge and understanding of Asia. It runs a series of programmes, both within New Zealand and in Asia, to help New Zealanders more directly face the challenges of the Asian century.

More information about the Foundation can be found at


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