Research highlights shifting global perceptions of New Zealand as the world grapples with geopolitical, economic, and environmental issues.

New Zealand Story has released its latest qualitative research into global perceptions of New Zealand, guiding exporters to help navigate changing global views as the world moves on from the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses and consumers in nine key markets* were surveyed to understand how global audiences perceive New Zealand. It’s clear the world is grappling with large geopolitical challenges such as war, climate change, and inflation and the insights gathered from this research will help exporters consider how they present their product or service in response to changing attitudes in the global economy.

A continued focus for exporters is reinforcing the message that New Zealand is open for business with this research highlighting some consumers still see New Zealand as slow to open up – a perception not surprising, given New Zealand’s borders had not long fully re-opened when the survey was conducted in August.

A residual effect of New Zealand being seen as a country that cares for its people based on our COVID-19 response still exists, however there is a resounding message from those surveyed that the rest of the world is moving on from the pandemic faster than us.

The research reinforced a world view that New Zealand is a nation capable of making measurable difference through decisive action and quick decision making, demonstrated in our response to COVID-19 with consumers admiring our decisive and care-based approach.

The survey also found that New Zealand’s embrace of Māori culture continues to resonate with international audiences. Markets such as Dubai, Japan, and China admire our embrace of te ao Māori and commitment to keeping cultural traditions alive.

The survey saw primary perceptions of New Zealand reverting to what we were historically famous for as the halo of the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, namely beautiful natural landscapes. It was also highlighted that New Zealand is perceived as an expensive destination with distance and disruptions to supply chains affecting cost.

This research is important because it offers exporters guidance on navigating perceptions associated with growing costs when trading with or traveling to New Zealand – as a country brand, we must counter ‘expensive’ with ‘premium value’.

Using these insights, New Zealand Story is working with exporters to help shape their messaging to gain a competitive advantage in international markets by leveraging the New Zealand brand. New Zealand Story encourages exporters to note the cautionary messages from the perceptions research and lean into brand New Zealand’s strengths where possible.

Brand New Zealand remains strong, with recent Brand Finance rankings released showing that it is stronger and more valuable than ever, with an 11% increase from a pre-pandemic valuation. With the eighth highest ranked public perception of any country’s brand strength, we can be confident that overseas markets still have a strong preference for New Zealand products and services.

*Markets surveyed in this research were Australia, USA, UK, Canada, Germany, China, Japan, Singapore, UAE.