Young Kiwis don't know much about Asia - survey

The Asia New Zealand Foundation has found more than half of people under 30 don't know much about Asia.
The Asia New Zealand Foundation has found more than half of people under 30 don't know much about Asia. Photo credit: Getty

The Asia New Zealand Foundation (ANZF) is concerned how little young Kiwis know about the continent.

The ANZF's Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples tracking survey has tested New Zealanders' knowledge annually for the past 20 years. This year, Kiwis averaged only two out of six general knowledge questions correctly.

Spokesperson Simon Draper says this doesn't make sense considering China is New Zealand's largest trading partner.

"Seven out of our 10 largest trading partners are Asian. Even from a business sense - what's the number one rule in business? Know your customer. How many New Zealand firms know their customers?"

Respondents under 30 did even worse - more than half only got one question right, or got them all wrong.

Mr Draper says youth are missing out because of it.

"I had thought that young New Zealanders, just through their online gaming to anime, would have had some exposure to and understanding of Asia."

When the test began in 1997, Asian people made up just 6 percent of New Zealand's population - it's now about 15 percent. 

Mr Draper says there are three ways New Zealanders learn about Asia.

"The first is rubbing shoulders with their friends and colleagues, the second is through travel, and the third is through the media."

He says younger New Zealanders are less likely to have travelled to Asia, and that could be the explanation for the lack of knowledge.

However, he said the ANZF will be looking into this further.

Newshub.