6 Jun 2014

Asia Foundation survey 'subversive'

8:40 am on 6 June 2014

A tribal leader says a survey published by the Asia New Zealand Foundation could cause problems for the new ambassador to Beijing.

The Foundation is currently lead by John McKinnon, who is to become the envoy to China.

Ngahiwi Tomoana of Ngati Kahungunu, and a member of the government's New Zealand China Council, said the survey presented a misleading picture of Maori sentiment towards Asians.

The research showed 44 percent of Maori polled believed New Zealanders felt less warm towards people from Asia.

Mr Tomoana said the answer did not have any value, except to force Maori into a point of view and that he did not know why the question was posed. He called the survey mischievous and subversive and said Maori had been falsely painted as anti-Asian thanks to media reports on the survey.

There was an affinity between Maori and Asians based on whakapapa, he said, and he wants the Maori part of the survey pulled.

The Asia New Zealand Foundation said the statistic covering Maori was from a report on a range of complex topics and captured a diversity of viewpoints.

The Perceptions of Asia report surveyed 1000 New Zealanders, and about 10 percent were Maori.