Asia-Pacific relations

The political, economic, cultural and environmental significance of the Asia-Pacific has never been greater and our research is focused on these four aspects.

Whether it is tensions on the Korean peninsula, China’s Belt and Road Initiative or the effects of global warming on Pacific nations and their peoples, Victoria University of Wellington researchers are providing valuable analysis and insight.

Central role

Victoria University of Wellington was chosen as host and lead institution for two of the New Zealand government’s three new Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence (CAPEs), cross-institutional centres focused on research and teaching about language, culture, politics and economics. We are leading the CAPEs for Southeast Asia and Latin America.

The University also hosts and leads the multi-university New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre and New Zealand India Research Institute.

Our Centre for Strategic Studies has for three consecutive years been named one of the top three think-tanks in Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific in the prestigious Global Go To Think Tank Report. The report ranks the Centre in the top 40 best university-affiliated think tanks worldwide.


The New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre, New Zealand India Research Institute and Centre for Strategic Studies are in the University's Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, where our integrated Political Science and International Relations programme provides a thriving collegial research culture for top scholars in the field. Its vibrant PhD programme includes research on democratising monarchies in the Asia-Pacific, New Zealand’s free association with the Cook Islands and Niue, and Indonesia’s electoral reforms.

The Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences also offers our Asian Languages and Cultures and Va’aomanū Pasifika (Pacific Studies and Samoan Studies/Matā‛upu Tau Samoa) programmes, as well as Te Kawa a Māui—the School of Māori Studies.

Fostering debate

Asia-Pacific research takes place in many other parts of the University too, including our School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Faculty of Law and Wellington School of Business and Government, home to the BNZ Chair in Business in Asia.

The University also has the interdisciplinary VILLA—Victoria Institute for Links with Latin America.

Located in New Zealand’s capital city, our Asia-Pacific researchers enjoy access to government and diplomatic circles, as well as other key agencies and organisations.

Researchers maintain close connections with universities, leading institutions and fellow researchers throughout the Asia-Pacific, hosting lectures, seminars and conferences featuring visiting scholars, politicians and officials. These are often in response to the latest developments in the Asia-Pacific and include conferences such as ‘Trump, China and the Region: Where to from Here?’ hosted in 2017 and the Pacific Climate Change Conferences of 2016 and 2018.

Sharing our knowledge

The New Zealand and other governments around the region regularly consult our researchers and they are frequent commentators in the media. BNZ Chair in Business in Asia Professor Siah Hwee Ang engages widely through columns and other contributions, Professor in Comparative Politics Jon Fraenkel is Pacific Islands correspondent of The Economist and Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Security Studies Dr Van Jackson is much sought-after by international outlets such as the Washington Post, Guardian and New Yorker.

As well as our researchers contributing to leading journals, our Geography and Development Studies programmes produce Asia Pacific Viewpoint, founded at the University in 1960. Published by Wiley-Blackwell, it is sixth out of 69 Area Studies journals in the latest ranking by Clarivate Analytics’ InCites Journal Citation Reports.

Elsevier’s SciVal ranks us as the most active university in New Zealand and joint-third and 10th worldwide for number of published journal articles about, respectively, Chinese foreign policy and international relations connected with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

Our research project funders have included the Rockefeller Foundation, East-West Center and the Royal Society Te Apārangi’s Marsden Fund.

The University is also home to the Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, which, along with language teaching, fosters cultural and intellectual exchange.

Asia-Pacific relations stories

A pragmatic approach to foreign policy

Our Centre for Strategic Studies Director says navigating Asia's complex geopolitics will limit New Zealand’s new idealism.

Pacific Climate Change Conference

A mindset of shared responsibility is essential to bring transformative change in the fight against global warming, according to conference organisers.