(Image from left: Paul Clark, Shamubeel Eaqub, John McKinnon, Jenny Dixon; photo by Charlie Gao)

On 24 September, North Asia CAPE Director Paul Clark hosted and moderated a panel discussion in Auckland, ‘New Zealand’s mahi in the region’. The event was North Asia CAPE’s first live event since lockdown began in March, and featured economist and commentator Shamubeel Eaqub, two-time New Zealand Ambassador to China John McKinnon, and University of Auckland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Engagement) Professor Jenny Dixon. The audience included representatives from New Zealand’s business, education, and government sectors.

Shamubeel challenged the audience to consider ‘whether the current system is working to deliver on the values that we profess to have,’ and argued for the collective need to chart ‘new goals, new ways of doing things,’ something that he remained optimistic New Zealanders could do.

John described the evolution of the New Zealand-China relationship, including the more challenging context brought about by Covid-19 travel restrictions and Great Power rivalries. He noted it was important that New Zealand ‘sustain and nurture’ its key relationships, especially with China, ‘because they are very important to our wellbeing and to our welfare.’

Jenny emphasised the contribution that the university and international education sectors make to New Zealand’s wider society and economy, and noted that Covid-19 ‘has not reduced our appetite for international engagement.’ As the global centre of gravity continues to tilt towards Asia, New Zealand’s universities are prepared to strengthen their connections with the region.

North Asia CAPE and the New Zealand China Council will be uploading content from the event. Look out for the China Council’s podcast series, which will feature selections from the panellists’ presentations. North Asia CAPE will make available videos of the panellists’ full opening presentations on its YouTube page shortly.

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