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Business, cultural connections in Taipei

Māori and Pacific scholars explore business, cultural connections in Taipei

North Asia CAPE 2019 Māori and Kiva Business Scholars explored connections between Māori, Pacific peoples and the indigenous people of the island of Taiwan.


12 February 2019


Imagine spending a month in a foreign city, dedicating your time to learning a new language, exploring business opportunities, and discovering the cultural linkages across indigenous cultures and histories.

That has been the experience for 11 Māori and Pacific tertiary students and recent graduates who were selected as the 2019 North Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence (CAPE) Māori and Kiva Business Scholars.

Hailing from around New Zealand, the scholars share a focus on business and an interest in language acquisition.

The group has just returned to New Zealand after a four-week-long intensive programme at National Taiwan University in Taipei City. They undertook daily Mandarin lessons, participated in myriad cultural activities, met business leaders and government officials, and explored the strong connections between the indigenous people of the island of Taiwan, Aotearoa New Zealand and the wider Pacific.

Already, the programme has had a profound impact on many of the participants. A number have committed to continue learning Mandarin throughout their academic and professional careers. Others are determined to learn more about the similar cultures and customs among Māori, Pacific and the indigenous people of Taiwan. As one scholar noted, “I feel very honoured to have made the journey back to Taiwan and reconnect with our Austronesian heritage. Same mana different language.”

Last year, six Māori students travelled to Taipei as the inaugural cohort of North Asia CAPE Māori Business Scholars; the programme has now been expanded to include Māori and Pacific business scholars.

“We are delighted to involve Pacific scholars, for whom the island of Taiwan also has special ancestral significance,” says Professor Paul Clark, Director, North Asia CAPE. “The programme highlights our commitment to building strong and enduring business and cultural relationships with New Zealand and North Asia. We look forward to seeing how this immersion opportunity translates to meaningful outcomes.”

When not in classes, the group travelled beyond the city to the rural environs populated by indigenous communities. They also made national TV when interviewed on Taiwan Indigenous Television. The scholars also posted a wealth of high quality video and photos on Instagram, capturing the sounds, sights and sensory experiences of Taipei.

Read about the Māori and Kiva Business Scholars programme, watch the TITV news clip and view the Instagram posts on our website here

ends

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