'Do you eat Kiwis there?' How the world views Aotearoa

A campaign launched this year aims to boost New Zealand's profile to promote more international business opportunities.

The video campaign, created by the New Zealand Story Group and Tourism New Zealand, features prominent figures from New Zealand and across the globe who share their thoughts on Aotearoa. 

It features a mix of celebrities, business leaders, scientists, sportspeople and even politicians. Among them are Kiwi NBA player Steven Adams, golf star Lydia Ko and former Prime Minister Helen Clark. 

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark features in the video promoting New Zealand.
Former Prime Minister Helen Clark features in the video promoting New Zealand. Photo credit: New Zealand Story Group.

"My education in New Zealand convinced me that I could achieve anything I wanted to do," Ms Clark says in the three-minute clip.  

Hollywood actress Bryce Dallas Howard opens the video with a message about why she loves Aotearoa: "When I think of New Zealand I think of a place that is pure and magical; it's the most beautiful place I've ever seen in my entire life."

Sir Ray Avery makes an appearance, alongside Facebook's Mark D'Arcy, NASA scientist Delwyn Moller, and Tesla co-founder Ian Wright. They all speak about how New Zealand punches above its weight in technology, innovation and education. 

New Zealand Story director Rebecca Smith says Kiwis are "curious people by nature" and "interested and eager to do business overseas and travel overseas".

New Zealand is small, after all, and can easily be overlooked by larger, more influential countries. 

A recent market research exercise conducted by New Zealand Story Group asked Americans what they knew about New Zealand, and some of the responses were hilarious.  

While some were correct to mention the All Blacks and pop star Lorde, one American thought our national bird was an emu or an ostrich. 

When asked what cuisine is associated with New Zealand, one American asked: "Do you eat Kiwis there?" 

Another said: "I can only imagine it's sheep-related."

Despite the Americans not knowing a lot about Aotearoa, every one of them said they'd like to visit, with many of them saying the country is on the top of their bucket lists. 

To help improve New Zealand's global image, Ms Smith says her campaign is being spread through social media, educating the world on what New Zealand has to offer. 

"It's doing really well," she said. 

"We're really curious people by nature and interested and eager to do business overseas and travel overseas."

She said promoting the country is essential "in order to really grow our economy; we have to attract more visitors, get more students, and sell our goods and services overseas". 

"We're a victim of our own humbleness really - we just don't like to shout about ourselves, unlike some of our closer neighbours."

She said a version of the promotional video will be marketed towards Japan and another version for China. 

Research is also going into promoting New Zealand to the Latin American market.