In 2018 Ihi research were commissioned by the Asia New Zealand Foundation to conduct an online survey. The Foundation has been surveying New Zealanders' perceptions of Asia and Asian peoples for over two decades. This is the fist time the perception of Asia and Asian Peoples survey has been carried out from a Te Ao Māori perspective. Consequently, this is a baseline survey, designed to gain a broad understanding of Māori perceptions across a wide range of items. A major point of difference with this survey from the general population survey is the exploration of perceptions of connection and opportunity for Māori businesses to thrive in Asia.
Our approach was built around whanaungatanga which guided the research team's engagement with the Māori community, and conveyed an expectation that the knowledge gained through this research process would be utilised for the benefit of whānau. We aimed to collect survey responses from a demographically and geographically representative sample of Māori participants across Aotearoa. There are approximately 730,000 Māori living in Aoteaora therefore we needed a sample size of approximately 1000 participants to obtain results that reflect the target population, stratified by age and region. To recruit the participants the research team used social media and email to access community, iwi, whānau, friendship, kura, professional and business networks across Aotearoa. The survey could be taken in English or Te Reo.
Five follow up face to face focus groups were held across New Zealand to explore the findings of the survey with participants who volunteered.
This approach was very successful and it is proposed that this organic, networked approach to survey collection ensured a reliable and robust sample drawn voluntarily from the Māori community.
What we have learned:
Cultural Connection as a cut through - There was a strong sense of cultural connection with parts of Asia and Asian peoples.
More positive than negative - Māori were more likely to view the impact of Asian peoples and culture positively.
On the fence - A significant number of Māori surveyed were consistently in the don't know or neutral category when asked a range of questions particularly when testing knowledge confidence about Asia.
More work to be done - 60 percent of Māori recognised the benefits of New Zealand engaging economically and culturally with Asia, half thought not enough was being done to prepare young New Zealanders in this space.
A full range of the findings can be found in the report that can be downloaded on this page (also available on the Asia New Zealand Foundation page).
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