Expo 2020 Dubai is a unique opportunity for New Zealanders to build connections and relationships in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – but we won’t be starting from scratch.
Here are ten things that already connect us and our Expo hosts more closely than you might think.
1. We’re both home to diverse populations drawn from all over the world. Both New Zealand and the UAE boast more than 200 nationalities amongst their residents.
2. Our indigenous peoples make up a similar share of the national population. Emiratis make up 16.5% of the population of the UAE, while Māori represent 14.9% of our population here in New Zealand.
3. We’re connected through culture. Emirati Bedouin and Māori culture have several areas of overlap, including a similar traditional greeting – the Bedouin mukhashamah looks much like the hongi, and expresses the same values of unity and trust between people.
4. We’re both fishing nations. Despite the stereotype of a desert culture, fishing has been core to Emirati culture for thousands of years and plays an important role in the modern UAE economy, just as it does for us.
5. Our trading relationship is already strong. The UAE is New Zealand's 10th largest trade partner, and two-way trade between us is valued at NZ$3.6 billion.
6. Despite the distance between our countries, we’re linked by direct daily flights. They’re amongst the world’s longest continuous flights, at 17.5 hours, but it’s easier to get to market than you might think. (Get some rest on the way – you’ll need plenty of energy for the always-on UAE market, let alone at Expo 2020!)
7. We share a taste for innovation. New Zealand is known for its ingenious, innovative culture, while the UAE has a formal plan to become one of the world’s most innovative countries.
8. We’ve got Business Councils supporting relationships on both sides. The New Zealand Business Council in Dubai is matched by the New Zealand Middle East Business Council based in Auckland – both working to support the New Zealand-UAE relationship and strengthen economic ties.
9. We’re trusted partners for the UAE’s food needs. The UAE imports around 90% of its food and has a growing market for premium F&B products. That’s a great match for world-class food producers from New Zealand – and in fact we’re already a leading supplier of dairy, meat, seafood and produce to the UAE.
10. We have a demonstrated commitment to renewable energy. We both have an interest in diversified, clean energy that’s ready for the future – and we’re already taking it to the rest of the world together, as partners on joint projects in the Pacific.