More than 1 percent of New Zealanders are of Filipino extraction, and that’s done a lot in terms of promoting Asia economic ties and tourism flows, says David Strachan, New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines.
David Strachan: “In the 1980s, New Zealand and the Philippines were pretty foreign to each other. Because of the people-to-people contact, because of significant immigration from the Philippines to New Zealand, we’ve now got to know each other very well. More than 1 percent of New Zealanders are of Philippine extraction. That’s the same percentage of Filipinos there are in the United States. And that’s done a lot in terms of promoting Asia economic ties and tourism flows.
“New Zealand now has a direct flight between Manila and Auckland, three times a week. And it has one of the biggest increases in student numbers of any country in ASEAN. Each year, there is a significant number of Filipinos who to study in New Zealand polytechnics and universities.
“I’ve been in Manila now for three-and-a-half years. And I can identify someone who is under 40 or over 40 simply by their image of New Zealand.
“What do they identify with our country? If they are 40 or under, it’s the hobbits, Lord of the Rings, or the All Blacks and haka.
“For those over 40, it’s the rather outdated image of 60 million sheep and 3 million people. But I think there is overwhelmingly positive views in the Philippines towards New Zealand, and that bodes well for the future of the New Zealand-Philippines relationship.”
– Asia Media Centre