Patron: Her Excellency, The Right Honourable Dame Cindy Kiro, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand

The Crisis in Educating about Asia in New Zealand Universities

Guest Speaker: Stephen Epstein and Dr Shin Takahashi
Associate Professor and Lecturer, School of Languages and Culture, Victoria University of Wellington

Event Date: Thursday 13th July 2023
Event Time: 5:30 pm-7:00 pm

Event Location: Bell Gully
Level 4 Bell Gully Building, 40 Lady Elizabeth Lane, Wellington, 6011.

Bell Gully

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Stephen Epstein is an Associate Professor in Asian Studies at Victoria University of Wellingtom, where for several years he directed the Asian Languages and Cultures Programme. His research focuses on contemporary Korean society and popular culture and he also translates Korean and Indonesian fiction and has co-produced two documentaries on the South Korean indie music scene. He served as the 2013-14 president of the New Zealand Asian Studies Society.


Shinnosuke Takahashi is a lecturer in Japanese in the Asian Languages and Cultures Programme, Victoria University of Wellington.





In the wake of the pandemic, much of Aotearoa New Zealand’s tertiary education system is in crisis. The government’s chronic underfunding of the sector is now coming home to roost and Asian Studies and Asian languages have been hit particularly hard: In the last year, AUT, Otago, Massey, Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington have carried out or mooted the sudden – and virtually simultaneous – significant downsizing or even disestablishment of programmes in Japanese, Chinese and Asian Studies. It was also recently announced that the Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence will no longer be funded. How can we collectively ensure that the nation does not shoot itself in the foot amidst general agreement that Asia—and deep understanding of the Asian region—will be crucial to our future?

Bell Gully

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