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Report confirms increasingly positive perceptions


Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Report confirms increasingly positive perceptions of Asia

New Zealanders’ increasing contact with Asian people is linked with more positive perceptions and friendlier feelings towards people from the region, says a new Asia New Zealand Foundation report.

The Perceptions of Asia survey shows that New Zealanders with the most contact with Asian people are more likely to agree that Asian people bring valuable cultural diversity to New Zealand

The results also show that New Zealanders who have little or no contact with Asian people are more likely to perceive Asian people as un-likeable.

However nearly half (48 percent) of New Zealanders have ‘a lot’ or ‘a fair amount’ of personal involvement with people from Asia, a percentage that has been steadily increasing since 1998.

The latest research provides an up-to-date ‘snapshot’ of public opinion surrounding this country’s relationship with Asia and is a continuation of the foundation’s biennial ‘Perceptions of Asia’ survey.

Asia:NZ Chair Philip Burdon says while the results are encouraging, there was still a substantial way to go to reach the point where New Zealanders are ‘Asia literate’ and more fully engaged with the region.

The results show that the Asian region with 71 percent is rated as more important by New Zealanders than Europe (65 percent rated this region as important), North America (50 percent), South America (20 percent), and Africa (11 percent).

Only the South Pacific region (which includes Australia) is rated as more important to New Zealand’s future than Asia (84 percent).

Mr Burdon says progress has been achieved and New Zealand’s outlook on Asia is maturing but the need to intensify efforts is undeniable.

“The Asia New Zealand Foundation which Don McKinnon and I started in 1994 has worked hard in recent years to achieve a tipping point in the country’s collective attitude towards Asia,” he said.

“The findings of this survey demonstrate that that juncture in this country’s consciousness is fast approaching, driven by external factors and increasing awareness at home.”

The majority of New Zealanders see the key benefits as economic ones and they are also positive about Asia as a tourist destination.

New Zealanders are more positive about the impact of Asian cultures, traditions, and immigration on New Zealand’s future; 60 percent of those surveyed think Asian cultures and traditions will have a positive impact on New Zealand’s future and 75 percent believe Asian immigration will have a positive or neutral impact on the country’s future.


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