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Research reveals New Zealanders' views on 'what it means to be Kiwi'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New research released today from Kiwibank reveals New Zealanders’ views on what it means to be a modern Kiwi, with findings showing the majority believe Aotearoa is a progressive and innovative country.

The survey reveals that two-thirds of Kiwi agree that New Zealand is an innovative country with just nine percent disagreeing. What’s more, 63 percent say it is progressive (only 13 percent disagree), highlighting that the majority of Kiwi believe New Zealand is modern and forward-thinking.-

Leading New Zealand clinical psychologist Jacqui Maguire states these findings demonstrate that when it comes to innovation, New Zealanders collective identity is evolving from complete reverence of the Number 8 wire mentality to one that understands, respects and participates in modern innovation.

"Kiwi once viewed New Zealand as an agricultural hub independent from the rest of the world, where resourcefulness and an ability to problem solve were the pinnacle of our innovation and success. This DIY spirit served New Zealand very well prior to the fourth industrial revolution; however, globalisation and technological advancement have generated contemporary requirements for innovation such as prioritising relationships, technology intelligence and honouring sustainability.

"This research from Kiwibank shows New Zealanders have been able to expand their perception of what it means to be Kiwi by optimising traditional Kiwi characteristics and partnering them with modern skillsets," says Maguire.

The research also revealed that 65 percent of New Zealanders think Kiwi individuals and businesses have a strong chance of achieving international success, with just 11 percent disagreeing, which Maguire says is evidence that not all New Zealanders engage in the tall poppy syndrome supposedly prevalent in New Zealand.

"It is often shared that Kiwi can be quite negative when it comes to celebrating the success of our peers, especially those who excel or stand out. It is so hopeful to see New Zealanders backing our own, believing we have what it takes to achieve international success on the global stage" says Maguire.

Despite a majority saying New Zealand is innovative and progressive, just 35 percent of Kiwi believe that New Zealand is at the forefront of sustainability, with 26 percent disagreeing. Although New Zealand has made some good steps towards creating a low-carbon future, significant work is required by the whole country to get together and make this a reality. Kiwi don’t see New Zealand as leading the way in sustainability. [1: ]

"It’s interesting to see that although we have an increasingly positive outlook on New Zealand’s innovation, many still see New Zealand as behind the times when it comes to sustainability. Kiwi have high standards when it comes to sustainability and want to hold New Zealand up to the clean, green image it presents itself as," says Maguire.

Kiwibank is recognising the shift in a more modern and progressive self-perception and the successes of New Zealand organisations and individuals by launching a brand and advertising platform featuring Kiwi organisations and individuals at the forefront of creating change in their fields including Allbirds, Dawn Aerospace, UBCO, Emirates Team New Zealand, Broods and Banqer.

Steve Jurkovich, CE at Kiwibank says, "New Zealand has transformed rapidly and is no longer the country at the edge of the world waiting for new tech and innovations to reach it. Instead, it is developing creative, ground-breaking solutions itself. Brands like Allbirds and Dawn Aerospace are world-leading innovators, making an impact on the international stage and demonstrating that Kiwi creativity is reaching new heights."

Stephen Powell, CEO and CTO at Dawn Aerospace says, "While space is by its very nature a global business, New Zealand has a unique role to play. Our open skies and culture of innovation make us a fantastic proving ground for the sustainable space technologies of the future. It's our unique approach that means we can solve problems no one else can. We are a New Zealand-founded company and believe that our country will grow as a hub for innovation on the world stage. Dawn Aerospace is just one of many companies working to make that a reality."

Tim Brown, founder of Allbirds, adds, "Over the past few decades a huge amount of innovation has come from New Zealand, Allbirds is just one of many Kiwi-founder led companies making a positive impact on the planet. What was once viewed as New Zealand’s weaknesses are now its strengths - its small size and geographic distance make it the perfect market to test new products before taking them to the world. Allbirds is proudly a New Zealand-American led company - we’re always excited to see new, ground-breaking innovations coming out of New Zealand."

-A sample of 1,000 New Zealanders were surveyed by research agency Pureprofile in May 2022. Respondents who did not have a strong opinion could select ‘neither agree nor disagree’.

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