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Asia:NZ Media Newsletter - April 2008

Media e-newsletter

April 2008

Kia ora and welcome to the April media newsletter. In this issue, we preview the Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum in Tokyo, and include information about our Diverse Auckland report and launch a new award for cross cultural reporting. Schools also have a new website resource for teaching Asian studies to New Zealand children. Read on and find out more.

In this issue:

* High level Japan-New Zealand forum to build momentum

* China's environmental dilemma and the FTA

* Asians: Better educated and integrating

* Mixing it up - our changing national identity

* Asia:NZ media update

* How to say Beijing

* New reporting diversity award

* Asia knowledge website for schools

* Hong Kong makes it easier for New Zealand winemakers

* New Zealand theologian in Indonesia

* Journalists' guide to the Beijing Olympics

High level Japan-New Zealand forum to build momentum

Senior members of government and business leaders from Japan and New Zealand will meet in Tokyo in May at the first ever Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum.

Organisers say the partnership forum (May 14-15) will be one of the largest and most significant high level gatherings between the two countries for some time. About 100 business and governmental leaders are expected to attend including a 40 strong contingent from New Zealand.

The Prime Minister Helen Clark will give the opening keynote address at the forum on May 15.

Commentators says the forum will take place against a background of a relationship which, while healthy in many respects, lacks momentum and where New Zealand struggles to capture the attention of Japanese government and business leaders.

Meanwhile Japan remains a major bilateral and regional partner of New Zealand and one of New Zealand's anchor trading relationships. Japan is New Zealand's third largest trading partner with exports totalling NZ$3.57 billion in 2007.

Japan is also the fifth most significant source of tourist revenue for New Zealand with 117,743 arrivals in the year to February 2008, despite a reduction of 12 percent over the previous year.

But at a time when Australia has succeeded in launching a free trade negotiation with Japan and when attention in New Zealand is directed increasingly to China, there is a need to take steps to ensure that the relevance of the relationship is not lost.

In a recent interview with the New Zealand Herald, Helen Clark acknowledged that New Zealand's relationship with Japan was older than it was with China and that it was important not to take that relationship for granted.

The Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum has been organised by the New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) with the support of the New Zealand government and the Asia New Zealand Foundation (Asia:NZ).

The NZIBF says it has identified strengthening the relationship with Japan to as the first priority in its strategy for enhancing New Zealand's international business engagement.

This is because of the size and potential of the Japanese economy, importance of Japan already as an established trade, investment and tourism partner, new opportunities that exist and the risks posed by Australia's FTA negotiation.

The event will be jointly chaired by Asia:NZ chairman Philip Burdon, a former trade minister, and Yoshihiko Miyauchi, chairman of the Keidanren's Asia Pacific Committee. The Keidanren is a business federation that is regarded as Japan's voice of big business.

For more information, contact NZIBF executive director Stephen Jacobi by email at stephen[at]jacobi.co.nz or Asia:NZ media adviser Charles Mabbett at cmabbett[at]asianz.org.nz.

China's environmental dilemma and the FTA

China faces massive environmental challenges in the years ahead that will see it face soaring costs in environmental resources such as water and air, says the author of China Shakes the World.

"You really understand when you go to a place like New Zealand how impoverished and how fragile China's ecosystem and environment is," James Kynge told Chris Laidlaw in a Radio New Zealand National interview.

"Obviously just living in Beijing, the air is like soup most of the time and the water table in northern China is falling precipitously every year because they're over pumping the aquifers to maintain agricultural production."

Kynge is a former China bureau chief for the Financial Times. His book China Shakes the World describes the development of China as a world power. It won the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award in 2006.

He believes the Chinese authorities have a massive environmental crisis on their hands that will only worsen over the next decade or so. But as a result he predicts that China will also become a big centre for every type of clean technology because it desperately needs it.

But whether or not environmental issues would throw the country's "economic takeoff off track" is open to question. While that was unlikely, these were big and fundamental issues that the government needs to come to terms with.

The free trade agreement between New Zealand and China comes down to what New Zealand has that China doesn't - "clean agricultural commodities, clean environment, open spaces, loads of places that Chinese can go on holiday".

With inflation in China at its highest level for 11 years and is hitting food prices in particular, "I just wonder if it is too much of a coincidence that the government has signed a free trade agreement with a country that produces excellent quality food."

"China's appetite is not something that it premeditatedly conjured itself, it is something inarticulate. It just so happens that 1.3 billion people on the move, all getting richer, at a pretty rapid rate, need so many more things."

The interview with James Kynge was broadcast on April 13. It is available online:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/20080413

The free trade agreement between New Zealand and China is the culmination of four years and 15 rounds of negotiation.

The FTA, together with associated labour and environment agreements, is now being considered by a Parliamentary select committee. It is expected to come into force on October 1, after the New Zealand Parliament has passed implementing legislation and New Zealand and China have exchanged notes confirming that domestic legal procedures have been completed.

A website - www.ChinaFTA.govt.nz - contains the full text of the agreement and a detailed guide to it.

Asians: Better educated and integrating

Asian New Zealanders are better educated with higher qualifications and linguistically more accomplished than the average citizen here, according to the Diverse Auckland report released early this month.

The Asia New Zealand Foundation's latest Outlook report says 28 percent of the Asian population have a university degree - only 20 percent of the total population does.

The multi-lingual abilities - three or more languages - within the Asian population were five times as great as in the general population.

The report adds the language resource "might be one of the less recognised benefits of immigration."

The report, written by Dr Wardlow Friesen of Auckland University, says Asian migrants do "cluster" in Auckland where two thirds of them settle. "Whether this is a problem is a matter of perspective."

Dr Friesen said the concentrations of Asian settlers were not as great as that of some ethnic minorities in the United States and Britain. "Further it can be asserted that there are advantages for ethnic groups to be clustered together."

Despite clustering, the growing Asian population was spreading throughout Auckland and migrant Chinese from the People's Republic were the most widely spread.

But Dr Friesen wrote that relatively few Asians settled in the urban periphery and rural areas of the Auckland region - despite some migrants coming here expressly for environmental reasons.

"However Auckland is still small, not intensively housed and access to the environment is still relatively easy."

Dr Friesen noted that surveys showed economic factors - job opportunities and high taxes - were seen by Asian migrants as the most negative aspects of settling here.

The slower pace of life, climate and natural beauty were the most positive.

He noted that surveys found incidents of hostility and racism towards Asian migrants were relatively rare and tended to involve unknown people rather than work or school colleagues.

Dr Friesen said a common comment was that neighbours and workmates had become friends. NZPA

Mixing it up - our changing national identity

One of the most profound ways in which immigration from Asian countries is impacting on Auckland, and ultimately on New Zealand, is in the evolving nature of our national identity, says the Diverse Auckland report.

The report highlights the evolving complexity of what defines a New Zealander with the ongoing debate about national identity increasingly likely to involve multiple layers of identity.

As the overall Asian population of New Zealand has increased, it has become obvious that the future of New Zealand and the identity of 'New Zealanders' will be continued to be influenced by cultural, social, political, professional and personal linkages to Asia that are well beyond the economic.

The report also says it is evident that over time an increasing part of the Asian population will identify as Asian as well as having European, Maori, Pacific and other ethnic identities as a result of intermarriage.

This is supported by statistics that show nearly 20 percent or one in five Asian New Zealanders below 15 years of age identified themselves as Asian as well as being from other ethnic identities.

The Diverse Auckland report also shows that while there is some clustering of communities, Asians by and large were settling across Auckland.

It also shows that 52 percent of Asian migrants undertook further education and training in New Zealand, especially for the purposes of improving English language skills, upgrading an existing qualification and getting a better job.

The report also says China and Korea are likely to remain key sources of migrants for many years even though tougher English language requirements have reduced flows of people from these countries.

But the prevalence of English in the education systems of South Asian countries such as India and Sri Lanka and parts of Southeast Asia such as Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines means immigration from many of these Asian countries is increasing.

Auckland will continue to absorb a disproportionate share of this growth, with an estimated growth of about 51 percent for the Asian population up to 2016 compared with 46 percent for New Zealand as a whole.

The report can be found here: http://www.asianz.org.nz/research/outlook

Asia:NZ media update

Two young New Zealand journalists will travel to Indonesia in May on Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Southeast Asia regional media scholarships.

They are Katie McKone, a reporter at Christchurch's The Star newspaper, and Laura Davis, a reporter at Radio New Zealand's Auckland news room.

The one-month MFAT scholarships are new scholarships aimed at junior working journalists or recent graduate journalists.

Both journalists will begin their trip by travelling to Bali to attend the Global Intermedia Dialogue in Bali, followed by a three-week work placement in Jakarta at the Jakarta Post newspaper and field trips to other centres.

The scholarship will conclude with a short visit to Malaysia to attend the Third Islam and the West Conference in Kuala Lumpur in early June.

Meanwhile, the recipient of a Taiwanese government scholarship to study Mandarin for ten weeks is Christopher Morris, the Otago Daily Times' Queenstown bureau chief.

Mr Morris will study at the Chinese Language Centre of the National Chengchi University at Taipei from June 2 to August 22.

The scholarship includes a return economy class airfare from New Zealand to Taipei and a monthly stipend of about $1,000. For more information about the scholarship, contact Andy Tseng at the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office by email at newzlgio[at]taipeiorg.nz.


In other news, Radio New Zealand is losing its Asian Report presenter and producer Suzanne Schokman.

Ms Schokman, an experienced broadcaster who came to New Zealand from Malaysia, has been doing the weekly programme since 2003. Regrettably for RNZ listeners, she is moving to Australia to be closer to her elderly mother.

Suzanne Schokman's last few programmes of Asian Report can be found here:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/asian_report

TVNZ's Asia Downunder programme which is broadcast on Sunday at 8.30am is now available on YouTube. "Everyone's on YouTube so we couldn't help ourselves - and finally our bosses at TVNZ agreed as well," the programme's executive producer Melissa Lee said.

You can find Asia Downunder here: www.youtube.com/asiadownununder

Finally, the Asia:NZ media travel grant round for North Asia closes on May 16. North Asia covers China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan. For more information, visit http://www.asianz.org.nz/grants/media-travel.

How to say Beijing

We'll hear it over and over again this year and it deserves to be pronounced correctly. The Chinese capital Beijing literally means "northern capital". But unlike the New Zealand way of pronouncing it with a soft J, it should be pronounced with a hard J - as in waging. If you want to get really technical, the tones are third tone for the first syllable (a down and up tone) followed by a first tone (high and flat).

New reporting diversity award

When the New Zealand Press Council made its anti-discrimination finding last year, people may have wondered whether the North & South cover story Asian Angst was typical of the way editors and journalists report ethnic minorities and diverse community groups in this country.

We'd like to think not. Let's find out. If your news organisation has published or broadcast excellent diversity journalism in the last year or so, please let us see it.

Producers of the best examples will be invited to a two-day workshop in Wellington led by Columbia Journalism School associate dean Arlene Morgan of New York.

Producer of the best work will win an Asia:NZ scholarship.

The New Zealand Journalists Training Organisation, Whitireia Journalism School, AUT's Pacific Media Centre, Canterbury University Journalism Programme, Asia:NZ, and the Human Rights Commission, are working together to stage a competition and two-day workshop to judge the inaugural New Zealand Excellence in Reporting Diversity Award.

The workshop in September will be run by Arlene Morgan, who will be in New Zealand to speak at the annual Diversity Forum and visit journalism schools in the last week of August.

Ms Morgan was keynote speaker at the NZJTO's Reporting Diversity forum in Wellington last year. She runs a similar workshop in New York each year to identify, analyse and critique the reporting of ethnicity and race in the US.

Our panel of judges will select a number of entries from those submitted and invite the media outlets concerned to send the journalist chiefly responsible for the work to attend the workshop in Wellington on September 1 and 2, 2008. Entries close at 5pm on Friday, August 15.

The competition and workshop are being hosted by the Whitireia Journalism School in Wellington. For more information, contact the school¡¯s journalism programme manager Jim Tucker at jim.tucker[at]whitireia.ac.nz.

Asia knowledge website for schools

There's a new website for teachers and students that is designed to help make young New Zealanders more Asia aware: http://asia-knowledge.tki.org.nz

Why an Asia Knowledge website? The Ministry of Education says Asia is growing faster than any other region and in this century the region will be extremely important to New Zealand economically, politically, and socially.

It is vital that students in New Zealand have opportunities to learn about Asia to ensure they are equipped to be successful in this changing environment.

The ministry says schools have the flexibility to design relevant and meaningful learning programmes to encourage students to become active and positive members of their local, national, and global communities.

Learning about Asia is an important aspect of this.

For teachers wanting to include the Beijing Olympics in their teaching and learning programmes this year, the ministry has developed a Showcase China unit as part of the website: http://asia-knowledge.tki.org.nz/showcase_china_beijing_2008

The Asia Knowledge website was launched in early April. Its Showcase China unit was put together with support from the Asia:NZ, Confucius Institute, International Languages Aotearoa New Zealand and the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

One day long professional development courses for teachers using the Showcase China unit are planned in mid June for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Details will be published in the New Zealand Education Gazette.

Hong Kong makes it easier for New Zealand winemakers

The Hong Kong government has dropped its 40 percent tariff on wine imports and aims to become an international wine centre, offering opportunities for New Zealand winemakers.

The Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association is organising a wine seminar for New Zealand wineries, exporters, freight forwarders and those interested in wine. It aims to highlight opportunities that the new zero tariff regime will offer.

In comparison, China will not be reducing tariffs on New Zealand wines until 2012 under the recently signed New Zealand-China free trade agreement.

Hong Kong wine commentator and winemaker Simon Tan will be a guest speaker at the seminar which will be held in Auckland on May 21. The event is being hosted by the HKNZ Business Association with support from New Zealand Winegrowers, NZTE, HK Trade Development Council and Minter Ellison Rudd Watt

To register interest, email hongkong[at]triocommunications.co.nz or call Felicity Anderson on 09 307 2213.

New Zealand theologian in Indonesia

A distinguished Otago University theologian will return to Indonesia in August to continue a teaching secondment as part of the United Nations-led Alliance of Civilisations initiative.

Dr Simon Rae is back in New Zealand having completed his first six month secondment at the Centre for Religious and Cross Cultural School of Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta, central Java.

UGM is one of the region's finest universities. With 53,000 students in 2007, drawn from Indonesia and abroad, UGM's strengths are in medicine, the humanities and the social sciences, science and technology.

In 2005 it was ranked as one of the world's leading universities in medicine, social sciences and humanities

Dr Rae and wife Marion Rae will return for up to six months from August when he will teach courses on 'Religion, State and Civil Society' and 'Indigenous Religions' and Marion Rae, a qualified ESOL teacher, will assist as a volunteer language tutor.

His secondment is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through NZAID and in association with Victoria University which is developing a long-term relationship with UGM.

Dr Rae is Principal-emeritus of the former Theological Hall, Knox College, Dunedin. He has extensive general and cross-cultural pastoral experience in New Zealand and Indonesia and active research interests in inter-cultural theology, religious history and religion and ideology.

He says Indonesians are working hard to develop a more democratic society. This has led UGM's Centre for Religious and Cross Cultural School (CRCS) to extend its programmes beyond the lecture room, into public education activities to disseminate ideas about alternative and better social structures.

These programmes all tie in with the UN-led Alliance of Civilisations initiative, launched in 2005, which identifies practical recommendations for action for building bridges between cultures, faiths and civilisations.

"Indonesians are very aware of the religious dimensions of both the problems and the opportunities of the new era upon which they have entered. CRCS provides a safe, academic environment for the contextual exploration of inter-religious cooperation," Dr Rae said.

Journalists' guide to the Beijing Olympics

The Beijing Olympic Organising Committee (BOCOG) has the mammoth task of organising the Beijing Olympics (August 8-24) and the Beijing Paralympics (September 6-17). Its comprehensive website is at http://en.beijing2008.cn/

The 2008 Beijing Olympics are being touted as the country's 'coming out' party - a chance to correct foreign misconceptions and to showcase all that is good about modern China.

Preparations for the August 8 opening include a range of government campaigns to beautify Beijing and 'civilise' its 15 million inhabitants for the benefit of the 500,000 foreign and one million domestic visitors expected to flood the city during the Games.

The capital's taxi drivers are now forbidden to spit, smoke, eat or sleep in their vehicles, thousands of apartment blocks along Olympic routes have been repainted, a monthly 'Queuing Day' is encouraging commuters to line up in an orderly fashion, beggars and peddlers have been largely expelled from subways and traditional hutong alleyways in the heart of the city have been renovated.

Despite such steps, challenges remain. Beijing is one of the world's ten most polluted cities and air quality is a major concern for both athletes and spectators. Beijing has pledged to host a 'green' Games, and sweeping measures are in place to achieve this goal.

Millions of trees have been planted and several of the city's heaviest polluting factories have been shut down. During the Games construction work will be tightly controlled and many petrol stations and oil depots will be closed. Following a test run in 2007 that successfully lowered levels of some pollutants, half of the city's three million cars will be removed from the streets.

A total of seven million Olympic Games tickets are available, 75 percent of which are reserved for locals - most of them at very affordable prices. Tickets to the most popular events sold out rapidly and the BOCOG requires ticket holders for the opening and closing ceremonies to provide identification to prevent scalping.

Beijing is not the sole host city for the Games. Equestrian events will be held in Hong Kong, while mainland cities Tianjin, Shenyang, Qinhuangdao and Shanghai will host football preliminaries and sailing events will take place in Qingdao.

BOGOC has contracts with 120 hotels to accommodate sponsors, IOC officials and media in 30,000 rooms. The government says it will not intervene to stop price hikes, which were widely reported in 2007. New star-rated hotels are opening across Beijing in anticipation of a massive tourist influx. Many are advertising steep rates during the Olympics, but some analysts expect oversupply to cause a fall in room prices closer to the Games.

The General Administration of Press and Publication is said to be compiling a database of 8,000 reporters registered for the Olympics in Beijing and a further 20,000 in the country for the event. The database is said to be designed to prevent people posing as journalists to trick or blackmail interview subjects, but there are concerns that the information will be used to keep tabs on journalists with a history of probing sensitive issues.

For journalists without International Olympic Committee accreditation, the Beijing International Media Centre (http://www.2008bimc.cn/en/), located near the main Olympic venues, is an invaluable resource, offering services ranging from access to office equipment to the latest on Games-related events around the city. The centre is due to open on July 8, 2008.

Thousands of volunteers are being drafted in to provide translation services to speakers of 55 languages during the Games. Numerous companies are offering personal translation/interpreting services in the city, though one of the best places to secure a freelance translator on your own terms is the classified section of www.thebeijinger.com.

This is an excerpt of an updated country profile on China in the Asia:NZ's Covering Asia resource for journalists. It is available here: http://www.asianz.org.nz/coveringasia/country-profiles/china

The next Asia:NZ media newsletter will be available in May. 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[at]asianz.org.nz


ENDS

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