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Our Asian blind spot

6 1 17

OPINION: Friday 15 March started off much like any other at the Asia New Zealand Foundation. I met with colleagues to talk about upcoming events: an incoming delegation from Vietnam visiting for a dialogue, the possibility of new initiatives with Timor Leste.

In our boardroom, a group of experts on Japan were receiving media training to help them prepare for the increased attention we expect they will encounter during the Rugby World Cup.

Then, in the middle of the afternoon, news started to come through of the devastating events in Christchurch.

The first sentiment that many New Zealanders had, and shared, was 'this is not us'.

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In the days since, we've seen that view being unpicked. We've heard that New Zealanders have different experiences of living in this country, and that these experiences are affected by how we look or where we were born.

We've learnt a lot about how we see ourselves, and how that view might have been wrong.

And from the initial media coverage in the hours after the attack, we can also learn something about how New Zealand sees its place in the world.

Our media dutifully reported on........

© Stuff