Asia-NZ Foundation’s Christchurch expansion reflects demand
New Zealand’s pre-eminent organisation on Asia, the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono, is strengthening its work in the South Island by establishing a formal presence in Christchurch.
The Asia New Zealand Foundation<http://www.asianz.org.nz/> has appointed experienced diplomat Alistair Crozier as its South Island Establishment Manager. Alistair’s role will focus primarily on the Foundation’s business programme, supporting South Island businesses to better understand Asia and to strengthen their regional networks. He will be based in the offices of local economic development agency ChristchurchNZ.
Before joining the Foundation, Alistair established New Zealand’s Consulate-General in Chengdu, Southwest China (2014-2018) following diplomatic postings in Beijing and Ha Noi, Vietnam. In 2019, he served as director of the office of the Christchurch Mayor. He holds degrees in law and Japanese language from the University of Canterbury and is a fluent Chinese speaker.
The Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono is a non-profit, non-partisan organisation established by the New Zealand Government in 1994. It has offices in Wellington and Auckland – and now Christchurch – and its mission is to equip New Zealanders to thrive in Asia. The Foundation helps New Zealanders become more confident and engaged about Asia by offering a range of experiences that lead to deeper connections, awareness and knowledge.
Chairman John Luxton says the South Island has always been important to the Foundation’s work. “We are probably best-known for initiating Christchurch’s Chinese lantern festival in 2005. But the Foundation also partners with South Island organisations to support a diverse range of events to have an Asia component – the Bread & Circus World Buskers Festival on in Christchurch at the moment is just one example,” he says.
“Over the past 25 years, the Foundation has also supported dozens of South Islanders on professional development experiences in Asia, including academics, artists, teachers, business graduates, entrepreneurs, journalists, and members of our Leadership Network.
“The Foundation’s board felt that now was the right time to take the next step and invest in having a formal presence in the city, given the South Island’s ever-increasing links to Asia and Christchurch’s growing population. We’re grateful to ChristchurchNZ for its support in having a presence in the city.”
ChristchurchNZ’s Boyd Warren, General Manager – Commercial, says: “Strong links with Asia are critical to ChristchurchNZ’s ambition to sustainably and inclusively grow prosperity in Ōtautahi Christchurch, so we applaud Asia New Zealand Foundation’s expansion into the South Island and warmly welcome Alistair into our office.”
The Foundation has also made two new appointments to its Asia Media Centre<http://www.asianz.org.nz/>, which it has committed to running on an ongoing basis following a two-year trial. Based in Wellington, the Asia Media Centre works to improve the breadth and depth of coverage of Asia issues in the New Zealand media by helping journalists access expertise on Asia more easily.
“We know from our Perceptions of Asia tracking survey that New Zealanders get a lot of their knowledge of Asia from the media,” says John Luxton. “The Foundation has been helping New Zealand media report on developments in Asia for more than two decades through our media travel grants programme, and our Asia Media Centre is an important addition to that work.”
Graeme Acton begins in the role of Asia Media Centre Manager on 10 February, having held a range of editorial roles at RNZ, most recently Foreign Editor. Graeme has long-standing interest in current affairs in Asia and his reporting in the region includes projects in Myanmar and Indonesia.
Acton will be joined in the Asia Media Centre
by media adviser Eleanor Wenman, who previously worked for
Stuff and its masthead newspapers. In 2017, Eleanor spent
six weeks at the Deccan Herald in Bengaluru, India, through
an Asia New Zealand Foundation media