Asia New Zealand Foundation: 15 x 15
- Country lead for Indonesia
- Represented Indonesian media in a cross-sector dialogue that included business, youth development, education, policy, science and technology, cultural diplomacy and the media
The Asia New Zealand Foundation partnered with the Habibie Center, a Jakarta-based think tank which focuses on democracy and human rights, to hold a two-day track II dialogue. The initiative brought together 15 New Zealanders and 15 Indonesians with the aim of assessing the current New Zealand-Indonesia relationship and exploring the prospects for strengthening links between the two countries.
Organization: Asia New Zealand Foundation
The Asia New Zealand Foundation is a non-partisan and non-profit organization dedicated to building New Zealanders' knowledge and understanding of Asia.
Dialogue brings together young Kiwis and Indonesians
The Asia New Zealand Foundation partnered with the Habibie Center, a Jakarta-based think tank which focuses on democracy and human rights, to hold a two-day track II dialogue at Martinborough’s Brackenridge Country Retreat in early December 2014.
This new initiative brought together 15 young New Zealanders and 15 young Indonesians with the aim of assessing the current New Zealand-Indonesia relationship and exploring the prospects for strengthening links between the two countries.
Delegates represented the full breadth of New Zealand-Indonesia engagement, including business, youth development, education, policy, science and technology, cultural diplomacy and the media. Many of the New Zealand participants had an existing connection to Indonesia. The Indonesian delegation were less familiar with New Zealand.
Leadership Network member Luke Rikiti welcomed delegates with a Maori karakia and an engaging explanation of its cultural significance.
The inaugural 15+15 dialogue commenced with delegates outlining their respective backgrounds and areas of interest in terms of the New Zealand-Indonesia relationship.
The first speaker was University of Auckland’s Associate Professor of Management and International Business, Natasha Hamilton-Hart, who detailed the extent of New Zealand’s bilateral relationship with Indonesia. With two-way trade totalling NZ$1.7 billion, Indonesia is our 11th biggest trading partner and will become increasingly important due to its burgeoning middle class of around 50 million people. However, despite the country's relative geographical proximity to New Zealand and its complementary economy, Kiwis are generally unfamiliar with the opportunities Indonesia has to offer and instead tend to literally fly over it or else experience it through the prism of a tropical holiday getaway in Bali.
A briefing and discussion on New Zealand and Southeast Asia followed, facilitated by David Capie, Associate Professor of International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington. Combined, ASEAN is New Zealand’s third largest trading partner and contains three of our top markets.Capie pointed out that Indonesia should be a key focus in our engagement with ASEAN, as it is the economic heavyweight in the group, making up close to 40 percent of the overall ASEAN GDP. Furthermore, it is home to over 250 million people, making it the world’s fourth largest country by population and is set to become the world’s seventh largest economy by mid-century.
Trade minister Tim Groser addressed the dialogue participants over dinner on the first evening. Groser, a former ambassador in Jakarta, spoke in Bahasa Indonesia and regaled delegates with recollections of Indonesia and insights into its relationship with New Zealand.
On the second day, Victoria University of Wellington PhD candidate and Leadership Network member, Endah Setyaningsih, led a discussion on Islam in New Zealand with reference to her home country of Indonesia. Given that some 87 percent of a total of 250 million Indonesians profess the Muslim faith, Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world and any engagement with Indonesia should take into account local Muslim beliefs and practices. The Indonesian delegates also shared their own diverse views and experiences of Indonesian Islam.
Rahimah Abdurahim, executive director of the Habibie Center, facilitated a session aimed at outlining areas of future action for the dialogue participants. These included obtaining media coverage in both countries, looking at avenues for educational cooperation, and bringing selected up-and-coming Indonesian business leaders to New Zealand to forge mutually beneficial links. Two country leads were nominated to direct and track the dialogue’s future work: educational consultant Chris Henderson of Cognition Education from New Zealand and journalist and media consultant Titania Veda from Indonesia.
It was agreed that a follow-up dialogue in Indonesia in 2015 would further build on what had been achieved during the initial 15+15 meeting. Delegates also noted that the 40th anniversary of New Zealand-ASEAN relations in 2015 would present the opportunity to celebrate past achievements whilst focusing on the future.
Back in Wellington, the Indonesian delegation also met with officials in New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Indonesian Ambassador, Jose Antonio Morato Tavares.
By 15+15 participant Benjamin Swale, Language Learning Centre Advisor at Victoria University of Wellington and Leadership Network member