New Zealanders’ feelings of warmth toward people from Japan, India and China have marginally decreased since 2009, according to a survey. The average warmth rating toward people from all three countries was 70 in 2010, against 72 in 2009, according to the latest survey of New Zealanders’ perceptions of Asia and Asian peoples.
The Asia:NZ Foundation study shows that the perceptions may have been slanted by the media coverage of the Crafar farms by Chinese investors, Japanese whaling and the trail of Peter Bethune, and the controversy surrounding the lead-up to the Delhi Commonwealth Games, as well as the impact of the recession, mirroring surveys in other countries, says Asia New Zealand Foundation’s director, policy and research Dr Andrew Butcher.
However, local events like Diwali and Lantern Festival, and the free trade agreement with China seem to have had a positive influence on New Zealanders as three-quarters of Kiwis (77 percent) see the Asian region as important to New Zealand’s future (38 percent see it as very important).
New Zealanders continue to view the Asian region more important than Europe (66 percent), North America (56 percent), South Pacific (43 percent), South America (24 percent) and Africa (9 percent).
Not surprisingly, Australia, with 86 percent, rates as being more important to New Zealand’s future than Asia.
The benefits of a relationship with Asia that New Zealanders see as being the most positive are primarily economic.
Meanwhile attitudes regarding the contribution that Asian people make to New Zealand has not changed significantly since 2009.
Good news for racial harmony: 75 percent Kiwis believe that Asian immigrants bring a valuable cultural diversity to New Zealand, Dr Butcher says.
However, New Zealanders’ cultural awareness is limited to high profile Asian events. The most common events mentioned are Chinese New Year (30 percent), the Lantern Festival (24 percent), and the Diwali Festival (22 percent).
The survey is also a measure of New Zealanders’ interest in Asian peoples and cultures, and as well as on subjects such as inbound Asian investment, trade with Asia, tourism from Asia, Asian international students and immigration from Asian countries.