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Media E-newsletter


Media E-newsletter

November 2006

Kia ora, sawadee and welcome to the November edition of the Asia New Zealand Foundation newsletter. This month, there’s more on the Asia:NZ Young Leaders Forum, a visit by a former Malaysian premier, AUT journalism graduates bound for Jakarta and Beijing, Peter Calder’s report on his visit to Mongolia and a profile of Charlotte Glennie in her new role. We also preview a visit by a Korean film star and the 2007 WOMAD festival.

In this edition:

On the road with future leaders

AUT trio for Asia work placements

Mahathir faces his twilight years

FTA progress update at China forum

New Zealand TV series launched in China

Wellington artist to get Korea residency

Korean media picks up on Christchurch study

Korean movie star returns to New Zealand

Motherhood and migration in Goan diaspora

2006 Census data to roll out next month

Asian artists at WOMAD

Ulan Baator or bust!

Charlotte Glennie’s China affair


On the road with future leaders

Hamish Miller speaks Mandarin fluently and works as key account manager for a New Zealand company that imports almost $200 million of products from Asia a year, mostly from China.

The former Asia:NZ China Scholar and graduate of Victoria and Nanjing universities says his employer, Macvad Ltd, is New Zealand’s largest importer for which he manages accounts that include the Warehouse Group.

Mr Miller says Chinese language and experience has enabled him to progress through the company more quickly than he ever expected, and to become well known within the industry. “One reason for this is because there are no other non-Asian New Zealand-born account managers or buyers that speak Asian languages in the retail industry.”

“Everyone says to me, ‘that was smart, learning Chinese’, but still there are so few people doing the same,” Mr Miller said. He currently spends two months of every year in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, visiting suppliers and trade fairs while working closely with the Warehouse Group.

“I think if New Zealand wants to feature at all in the eyes of the Chinese and other Asian countries, it can start by educating its young people about Asia and develop young leaders versed in Asian culture and language so that in the future they feature in prominent positions around the country, whether it is education or business.”

Hamish Miller is one of the 38 young people taking part in the inaugural Asia:NZ Young Leaders Forum. Apart from New Zealanders, participants also come from South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, China, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Mongolia and Singapore.

Subardja Komalawati is an Indonesian agricultural engineer from Bogor on the island of Java. She is completing a masters degree in rural development at Massey University on an NZAID scholarship and hopes to return to Indonesia to contribute to alleviating poverty in the rural sector.

Ms Subardja says there are an increasing number of Asian students coming to New Zealand and this presents opportunities to develop enduring networks. “In the future, hopefully young leaders in Asia and New Zealand can help each to contribute to their own countries and assist people around them.”

Asia:NZ’s education director Pamela Barton says these talented, Asia-literate young people were chosen because of their leadership potential and she hopes the enduring networks will benefit the wider interests of New Zealand and the countries of Asia.

To be eligible, the participants had to be young New Zealanders who are former or current Asia:NZ scholarship holders or international students from Asia on New Zealand government scholarships.

The programme, which begins in Wellington on November 19 and concludes in Auckland on November 24, will include workshops on leadership, cross-cultural communication and public speaking.

There will also be site visits in Rotorua, Taupo and Hamilton as well as briefings by government and business leaders. There will also be team building activities and panel discussions.

To interview some of the participants or to find out more about the Asia:NZ Young Leaders Forum, contact Pamela Barton at pbarton@asianz.org.nz or visit www.youngleaders.org.nz


AUT trio for Asia work placements

Three graduating student journalists from AUT University have been selected for work internships with news organisations in Beijing and Jakarta sponsored by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Marc Checkley and Laura Bond will join the Chinadaily.com in Beijing for three-month internships and Cameron Broadhurst will work at the Jakarta Post.

Mr Checkley, 30, has had wide experience in Southeast Asia and worked in Singapore for four years. As well as his final-year journalism studies for the Bachelor of Communication Studies and he has also been working for Newstalk ZB.

Ms Bond, a 22-year-old final-year BCS student, has worked on an internship at the Northern Advocate. She has a keen interest in diversity and cultural issues.

Mr Broadhurst, 28, has worked at the Otago Daily Times on an internship and contributed reports to the Central Leader. He has lived and worked in India, Japan and the USA, and has also been a volunteer for Oxfam NZ’s communications team.

As well as an Asia:NZ grant covering return air fares and an allowance, the China Daily will support the two Beijing internship students with accommodation and living allowances.

Diversity and publications coordinator Associate Professor David Robie in AUT’s School of Communication Studies said: “We are thrilled with this development, which will dramatically boost the international opportunities for AUT journalism graduates.”

He thanked Asia:NZ, the Jakarta Post and China Daily for their support for encouraging graduates seeking international experience and engagement.

To see examples of work by AUT University journalism students, visit their online publication Te Waha Nui: http://www.tewahanui.info/index.shtml


Mahathir faces his twilight years

The slew of news reports generated by a heart attack suffered by Malaysia’s former prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, tells the story of the regard in which he is held throughout the Asian region and beyond.

Dr Mahathir suffered what was described by doctors as a mild attack soon after he returned to Kuala Lumpur from a flying 36-hour visit to Wellington.

He has since been released from hospital and instructed to rest. It must have been a sharp reminder of mortality for the 81-year-old former premier who refuses to slow down, even in what is ostensibly his retirement.

Dr Mahathir came to Wellington this month to give the annual Chair of Malay Studies Saad Lecture at Victoria University on November 7. His hour-long address was entitled Criminalise War – The Path to Peaceful Resolution.

Talking to journalists the following day, he touched on familiar themes such as the treatment of Muslims by the West, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and his suspicion of the Bush administration and its ally in Canberra.

But he did extol New Zealand’s virtues as a country that identifies itself more readily with Asia than Australia, saying New Zealand’s efforts to be part of any future East Asian community depended on how the country was viewed by the region and how Asian countries perceived us.

Meanwhile, he said, the Howard government had a much harder job to persuade Asian governments that it was a partner that saw Asian countries as political, cultural, strategic and economic equals.

“Australia seems to identify itself with Europe and America. New Zealand has got a completely different world view and it's also not so willing to identify itself with Europe and America,” he told reporters.

“When people talk about becoming (the United States’) deputy sheriff, that's not very welcome in our region,” Dr Mahathir said in reference to a comment reportedly made by Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard in 1999.

Mr Howard has denied making that statement but in 2003, President Bush compounded the issue by referring to Australia as not just a deputy sheriff but a sheriff in Southeast Asia.

Dr Mahathir, who has had a feisty and problematic conversation with his counterparts in Canberra during his 22 years in power said that relationship worsened when John Howard became prime minister.

“I think it’s good to see that New Zealand is not just an appendage of Australia and that you have different views,” he said. “I think it's good to be able to sit and talk with New Zealand.”

Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister from 1981 to 2003 and a driving force for modernisation, told the journalists that his greatest achievement was being able to achieve a “state of relative harmony” between Malays, Chinese and Indians in his country.

He revealed his worst moments were “many” including failures such as his government controlled Perwaja Steel project that ran up huge losses in the 1980s and 90s.

As for his much publicised criticism of his successor Abdullah Badawi, Dr Mahathir said it was based on policy differences including the government’s recent cancellation of one of his pet projects – the building of a bridge on the Malaysian side of the causeway that links the peninsula to Singapore.

“This is not a personal thing. My difference with him is regarding certain things that he’s doing with which I disagree and I have told him that I will continue to criticise the government if I find the government doing something detrimental to the interests of Malaysia or the people of Malaysia.”

Dr Mahathir Mohamad was visiting as a guest of the Chair of Malay Studies at Victoria University, a position he inaugurated in March 1996. The position is funded by the governments of Malaysia and New Zealand with the support of organisations in both countries including the Asia New Zealand Foundation.


FTA progress update at China forum

One of the highlights at the forthcoming China Business Forum will be an update on the free trade agreement negotiations between New Zealand and China.

After the ninth round of talks between officials from both countries ended in Wellington last month, it is hoped that an agreement will be reached sometime next year.

In so doing, New Zealand will become the first developed country to achieve the “four firsts” in its trading relationship with China. It has already attained the status of having reached three firsts; the first to conclude WTO accession negotiations, the first to recognise China as a market economy and the first to commence FTA negotiations.

Organisers of the forum on November 30 have lined up three speakers to summarise progress to date. They are the Minister of Trade, Phil Goff, the deputy secretary of MFAT, Derek Leask, and the Chinese Embassy charge d’affairs, Zhao Yanbo.

Companies also presenting at the forum include the Economist Intelligence Unit, The Warehouse, Villa Maria Estate, Mega Trends Asia, the Glidepath Group and Richina Pacific.

Key issues to be covered include how to open and close deals with Chinese business partners and suppliers, analysis of China’s future and the implications for your business, where to source the best products and what distinguishes successful business companies in China.

The China Business Forum is at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Auckland on Thursday, November 30 and supported by Asia:NZ. For more information, visit www.chinabusinessforum.co.nz.


New Zealand TV series launched in China

Trade Minister Phil Goff has launched a television documentary series in Beijing that will introduce New Zealand to a potential audience of 300 million viewers.

The New Zealand Journey series consists of five one-hour episodes which explore aspects of this country’s culture, history and society.

It was developed by Dunedin-based film makers Natural History New Zealand in collaboration with China Central Television. It was made with funding from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage through the Cultural Diplomacy International Programme.

The series began screening in China on November 10 on CCTV10 with subsequent screenings also on other channels.

With tourism from China reaching the 100,000 mark for the first time, Mr Goff says the documentaries will assist greatly in giving New Zealand a significantly higher profile.

The launch of the series was scheduled to coincide with the start of direct Air New Zealand flights between Auckland and Shanghai.


Wellington artist to get Korea residency

An accomplished Wellington visual artist Lorene Taurerewa has been selected to be the first New Zealander to take up a six week artists’ residency in the South Korean capital Seoul.

Lorene Taurerewa, who is part Samoan, Chinese and European, will embark on the inaugural residency, beginning on November 25, where she will be based at the National Art Studio of the Korean National Museum of Contemporary Art.

Ms Taurerewa who is a lecturer in drawing at Victoria University’s Schools of Architecture and Design, has been exhibiting her work since 1998, after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1996.

In January and February this year, she worked in the Asian collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum, making drawings of Buddha scuptures which were to feature in her installation journey of 1000 miles at the Pataka Museum of Art and Culture in September.

The Asia:NZ Korea Residency is for New Zealand visual artists and is carried out in partnership with the Korea Foundation. This is the first year it has been made available.

The residency is aimed at an emerging or mid-career artist between the ages of 24 and 49 years working in genres such as painting, drawing, photography, media, screen or installation arts – but not in industrial or ceramic arts.

Asia:NZ will cover the cost of a return airfare, insurance and a daily stipend. The Museum of Contemporary Art will cover the cost of accommodation.


Korean media picks up on Christchurch study

The authors of a study on the experiences of Korean migrants in Christchurch say they would like to extend their research to Auckland to see if Koreans living there faced similar levels of racism and harassment as those experienced in the South Island city.

The study by the University of Canterbury researchers revealed that most of their 36 subjects complained of harassment and discrimination from members of the wider public, including in the most obvious cases, racist abuse and egg and stone throwing.

The study's findings received considerable media attention at home and overseas. Radio New Zealand, Radio Live, Newstalk ZB and a number of domestic news websites carried the story while overseas the findings were reported by Associated Press with the article published in the International Herald Tribune, the Korea Times and on a Filipino news website.

The Yonhap News Agency, the main news wire service in South Korea, also ran the story which was picked up by the websites of two of the largest Korean dailies, the Chosun Ilbo and JoongAng Ilbo.

One of the University of Canterbury researchers, Suzana Chang, who is herself Korean, says she does not believe that the singling out of a minority group like the Koreans is a specifically Christchurch issue.

"I personally believe that New Zealand is going through a stage and we just need to give it time. New Zealanders will eventually get used to these people that look so different to them," she told RNZ.

Mrs Chang says prejudging people on race happens all over the world and is not just a New Zealand problem.

"This attitude of not readily accepting people that look different will change, but it will just take such a long time to change, and in the meantime we just have to be more aware that these people, although they look different, they're trying to learn the language and they're trying everything they can to fit in."

Mrs Chang, along with her research colleagues Dr Richard Vokes and Dr Carolyn Morris, say the study started out as a project on the role played by the Korean church among Koreans in New Zealand and they were taken by surprise by the harassment and racism their interview subjects complained of.

The researchers say many Koreans have only been able to find social support amongst other Koreans and within Korean churches but all expressed a desire to know Kiwis and become part of mainstream society. Sadly, the general feeling among those interviewed was that they had been rebuffed by New Zealanders.


Korean movie star returns to New Zealand

The star struck Korean community in Auckland is anticipating a visit by one of the country’s best known film stars at the 2006 Korean Film Festival in Auckland early next month.

Ha Ji-won will be in New Zealand to promote her 2005 film The Duelist which will screen as part of the festival in Auckland and Christchurch. Known as Hyeongsa in South Korea, the big budget spectacle is directed by one of the country’s best-known filmmakers, Lee Myung-se.

Chung Han Jin who works for the Wellington cross-cultural communications company Bananaworks says Ha Ji-Won is one of the best known actresses working in South Korea. “She is really famous, and actually she is doing a soap opera in Korea at the moment.”

Mr Chung says the 25-year-old star came to Auckland to embark on an English language course about a year ago but had to leave after a month because too many Koreans recognised her, requesting photos and autographs.

One of the festival organisers, Melissa Lee, described her as a “Korean Kirsten Dunst or Scarlett Johansson, a young actress who is on the way up and doing very well”.

Ms Lee says she met Ha Ji-won when she was served as a cultural ambassador for the New Zealand Film Festival held in Seoul last year.

The festival will be screening nine films altogether including The Host, a frightener that features New Zealand creative talent through initial design work on the special effects creature that was carried out with Richard Taylor's team at Weta Workshop.

The 2006 Korean Film Festival is supported by Asia:NZ. It runs in Auckland from December 1-7, in Wellington from December 4-6 and in Christchurch from December 5-7. For more information, visit www.koreanfilmfestival.co.nz.


Motherhood and migration in Goan diaspora

One of the founders of the Aotearoa Ethnic Network, Ruth DeSouza, has written a book close to her heart about the issues of migration and motherhood facing women from her home state of Goa.

Ms DeSouza says ‘Walking upright here’ is based on her Masters research and is descriptive book that explores the experiences of new mothers in a new country. It also provides an insight into the Goan community in New Zealand.

She says when her family first came to New Zealand in the 1970s there were about ten Goan families and now there are probably 500. “We don't break down the ethnicity in New Zealand to the level of region in our census so we don't really know!”

But Ms DeSouza says the book will be of interest to anyone who wants to know about the Goan diaspora, ethnic communities in New Zealand, women's health or doing research amongst minority and ethnic groups.

Ruth DeSouza and her husband Andy Williamson set up the online Aotearoa Ethnic Network (www.aen.org.nz) about two years ago. She is also a senior research fellow at AUT University’s Centre for Asian and Migrant Health Research and a director of Wairua Consulting Limited.

She has a background in mental health nursing, counselling and education and is passionate about the ethnic sector and in how technology can advance the aspirations of communities. Walking upright here is available from www.lulu.com.


2006 Census data to roll out next month

Statistics New Zealand says the date of the first release of final information from the 2006 Census will be December 6.

That’s when the first of a series of releases will be available, dealing with New Zealand's population and dwelling profile. Long awaited information on the changing ethnography of the country will be a key feature of the 2006 Census.

The releases set to begin rolling out on December 6 will include a summary of information about people, households, families and dwellings in each region, city and district.


Asian artists at WOMAD

Next year’s WOMAD festival in New Plymouth features a selection of artists from Asian countries including a 17 piece ensemble from the Indonesian city of Bandung in Java.

Samba Sunda will be bringing together an array of Indonesian instruments and influences that include the Brazilian musical style of Samba to create a new style of gamelan orchestra. The group comes from an area of west Java more commonly known as Sunda.

Shivkumar and Rahul Sharma are a father and son duo from India who play the santoor and the jugalbandi. The santoor is a Kashmiri instrument that has become a key instrument in Indian cinema soundtracks.

Other Asian artists include Guo Yue from China who is a virtuoso of the Chinese bamboo flute and the Gyuto Monks from Tibet who are billed as “masters of Tibetan Buddhist tantric ritual”.

The WOMAD New Zealand Festival will feature up to 300 performers from 16 countries. It is on from March 16-18 at New Plymouth’s Brooklands Park and TSB Bowl. More information is available at www.womad.co.nz.


Ulan Baator or bust!

By Peter Calder

“Mongolia?” people would ask incredulously. “Why Mongolia?” And there were times during my three-week visit to the country in August when I asked myself the same question.

On the road between Ulaanbaatar and Kharkorin, the modern and ancient capitals, for example, where the potholes were so many and so deep that traffic simply deserted the tarmac and followed the wheel marks across the gritty steppe; or on the streets of UB, where the cars, which have multiplied a thousand-fold in 10 years, jostle and battle for position and everything is silvered over with a fine sheen of dust; or in the ger (the round felt tent) of a nomad family who took me in for a couple of days, as the woman of the house proudly handed me a bowl of rice and milky tea, topped with a special treat - a slab of mutton-fat as large as my thumb; the country was constantly testing the edge of my comfort zone.

For most of my life, Mongolia has held a special fascination for me. “Outer Mongolia” as it was once known, was always a byword for impossibly exotic isolation, the expression that meant "as far away as you can go without leaving the planet".

Of the stamps in my boyhood collection, the very few Mongolian ones seemed the most alien - the mixture of medieval and Stalinist iconography was always faintly menacing.

Then a chance encounter in Brazil in the 1970s, where I shared a house with an expatriate Mongolian piqued my appetite further. He filled my head with stories of Genghis Khan's warriors and nomads who lived on cheese and fermented mare's milk.

However, the trip to Mongolia that I undertook with the assistance of the Asia NZ Foundation did not bring me face to face with any marauding Mongol warriors.

Much of my time was spent in UB, where about two-thirds of the country's 2.5 million people live, since that was where most people who could talk to me about modern Mongolia were to be found.

The picture they painted - and the one to be seen by even the most cursory observation on the streets - was not a pretty one. Mongolia emerged from 66 years of Soviet control in 1990 but it was not the result of national liberation as much as abandonment.

The entire article by Peter Calder can be found on the Asia:NZ website at the following link: http://www.asianz.org.nz/grants/media-reports/calder


Charlotte Glennie’s China affair

By Jehan Casinader

It is morning in Beijing. Work hours have not commenced for most, but the traffic is already clogged on the street below Charlotte Glennie’s apartment. Marmite on toast is in order; a Kiwi start to the day before the New Zealand-born journalist begins chasing China-focused stories.

Yesterday, it was the sacking of a corrupt Communist Party official. Today, it will be more of the same. Glennie hesitates for a moment as her face flashes across the television in her living room.

“This is a region that’s crucial to what happens everywhere in the world, and that will only become more pronounced. China’s development is one of the biggest stories of this generation. It is great to witness China’s modernisation. But there is such disparity; such wealth, such poverty.”

Since June, Glennie has been Beijing correspondent for the Australia Network, part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The network broadcasts in 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Australia and New Zealand. It is a step up from Glennie’s last job as Asia correspondent for TVNZ, a role which saw her forge a name for herself.

“The concept of Asia correspondent had been talked about for years, but hadn’t been done because of budget. For many news outlets it’s the same. I did some research, then took a proposal to [news boss] Bill Ralston and he agreed. I thought it would be great to freelance from Hong Kong, and if I could show there was a lot happening there, I could generate a lot of work.”

For two-and-a-half years, Glennie covered major stories in her self-created position, most notably the Boxing Day tsunami which she reported on for weeks, earning her the supreme Qantas Media Award and a Special Service Medal. That is why her departure, when Ralston shut the Asia bureau earlier this year, had tongues wagging, including that of the prime minister.

“We negotiated, but the office was closed because of budget constraints. Bill wanted me to run the bureau from New Zealand. He thought I would do that, but it wasn’t an option I took.”

Instead, she moved to Beijing, home to more than 500 foreign journalists from 300 media outlets. Glennie travels to unsafe areas in a country where local reporters are jailed for their stories. She no longer follows New Zealand-angled stories, and is dedicated to covering China.

Glennie entered journalism after completing a double-degree and a journalism diploma. After working in the press gallery with Barry Soper, she was pinched by TVNZ’s political team then led by Linda Clark. Six years ago she decided to commence a long-delayed trip to Asia.

“I took a long, slow route through Asia, mostly overland, through Singapore and up into China. I spent months travelling by train and bus, and went to Tibet, Nepal, India and Pakistan. I knew what I was experiencing would help me as a journalist. After that trip I had London in my sights, and was hoping to get work there. But circumstances prevailed, and I came home.”

To cut a long story short, Glennie fell off a cliff in Croatia; nothing more than an accident, but it set back her plans considerably. She returned to New Zealand and took months to recover before re-applying for her job and moving back into reporting, ultimately to the position in Asia.

“New Zealand doesn’t feel very far, even though I’m living worlds away. I will always be a Kiwi, but I like living overseas for now and experiencing places very different to where I grew up.”

Glennie takes Mandarin classes after work. She is determined to be able to speak the language when she leaves China. That will not be until the Beijing Olympics at least, but Glennie notes that the more she learns about China, the more enticing it is. She can’t pop away to the beach for some quiet time these days, but that’s a luxury she’s willing to sacrifice a bit longer.

Jehan Casinader is a Wellington-based freelance journalist. This article originally appeared in the November issue of Unlimited magazine.


The next Asia:NZ media newsletter will be available in December. The views expressed by various contributors to the newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the Asia New Zealand Foundation. If you are interested in contributing to the newsletter, please contact Asia:NZ’s media adviser Charles Mabbett at cmabbett@asianz.org.nz

Toitu he kianga; whatungarongaro he tangata - people are transient things but the land endures.


Asia New Zealand Foundation is grateful to its key sponsors - Fonterra, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade - for their commitment to the Foundation's activities.

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