Speaking on the sidelines of the 2022 Culture Communication Forum (CCF 2022), Turner suggested Korean companies cooperate with New Zealand’s startups, technology companies and young people with big ideas.
“Korea is a world-leading tech country with a lot of very big companies,” Turner said adding that New Zealand was looking at programs for tech exchange for young entrepreneurs and businesspeople.
“We are keen to connect New Zealand’s individual startup entrepreneurs with Korean partners for collaboration and get raised capital,” he said.
“Korea is very good at finding a path to market ideas, whereas New Zealand is very good to come up with creative technologies and ideas. Both New Zealand and Korea are pretty well placed in digital ecosystem to work together.”
Turner also discussed New Zealand’s digital inclusion blueprint.
He cited New Zealand Asia tech code and New Zealand - Korea digital student exchange as major initiatives of digital international education.
#NZ Asia Tech Code Camp is an innovative learning exchange program that combined topical global issues with technical coding skills with a team of six students from Te Kura Maori o Porirua, a predominantly Te Reo Maori school in Porirua, a city in the North Island, New Zealand. The team interacted with school students in South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Turner said that the overall theme of the camp was using tourism to match the goals of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – a topic highly relevant for the Asia-Pacific region.
“Students were given the task of profiling their home country’s SDG initiatives, with a focus on sustainable tourism,” added Turner.
Turner highlighted Introducing New Zealand – Korea, a digital student exchange program held this summer that promoted New Zealand education to a South Korean audience and provided key benefits such as global citizenship, cross-cultural relationships, and language skills to students from 28 South Korean and New Zealand schools.
The program offers opportunities for Korean 12 to 14-year-olds, and for New Zealand students to develop language skills and engage in cross-cultural relationships with their international peers through Zoom sessions using quizzes and interactive activities.
New Zealand is looking for innovative ways to use technology to teach kids digital skills and exposing them to intercultural perspectives and different international views, according to Turner.
“Young people have so much opportunity if they have access to the right technology. Conversely if they (youth) lack digital access or knowledge, they will fall behind,” he said.
According to Turner, New Zealand government is working hard to ensure everyone has access to capability and technology.
“That means working with kids in school and equipping them in that way,” he said adding international connection is also a significant element.
Traditionally, New Zealand had the disadvantage of being far away from major markets or population centers of the world, but his country is now is reaching out to connect with other countries, he said.
According to Turner, Korean investment and tech cooperation remain less-explored areas in New Zealand-Korea bilateral relations.
“There's less investment from Korea in New Zealand than expected considering Korea as the No. 10 economy in the world with huge investors overseas. That's an area where we think we can do a lot more,” he said.
He suggested enhancing cooperation in Korea's creative industry as an extension of tech cooperation such as gaming, films, and drama industry, seeing Koreans' love for games and Korea’s global presence.
Turner said that Auckland is developing an ecosystem of people skilled in the creative industry that would become a huge growth area between New Zealand and Korea.
“Seoul in many ways, is a world leader in urban architecture and design,” said Turner.
“Cheonggye Stream especially was a fantastic success,” said Turner.
He added that some people in Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand, wanted the same kind of project to be constructed down a main street in the city where a small stream once flowed known as Queen Street.
“Some people say we should do what Seoul did, open that up and it can transform the inner city,”
Turner also appreciated Seoul’s management of historical heritages combined with traditional and modern architecture including Japanese architecture.
"New Zealand has Maori people invaded by the European settlers but unlike in Korea, the whites didn't go away, they remain in New Zealand,
"We have to reconcile these two parts -- Maori indigenous peoples’ heritages and the European heritage expressed in architecture and urban design as well," Turner said.
Seoul presents a model for reconciliation to New Zealand because like many countries, New Zealand also grappled with colonial legacy, according to Turner.
“It's very interesting to see people of Seoul dealing with two buildings, the demolished old administrative building and the City hall,” he said.