Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Punching Above Our Weight: How a small island nation navigates the world of global strategy

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posted on 2021-11-23, 10:29 authored by Ibbetson, Oliver

This thesis evaluates three of New Zealand’s foreign strategy documents, the China Strategy, the India Strategy, and the ASEAN Strategy. It assesses New Zealand’s performance against these strategies in order to elucidate the interplay between diplomatic, economic, and security strategies, and how this impacts on New Zealand’s approach to these partners.  The different elements of policy exist in a complex environment of interdependent flows. In ASEAN strategy, security policy is linked to trade policy; in Indian strategy, international sport is linked with domestic tourism; and with China strategy, global reputation is linked with lowering barriers to trade.  To date, New Zealand’s China Strategy has been successful, as New Zealand has performed well against the goals its set for itself. While it may be tempting to suggest emulating the China Strategy in other markets, this thesis argues that the success of the strategy is due to the unique set of circumstances of the two countries. When we look at New Zealand’s approach to India the importance of customisation is evident. Strategies exist in a complex environment where multiple attempts and methods may be required in order to best elucidate the most successful approaches.  This work argues that country strategy should be sufficiently adaptive to take into account the complex environment of each nation, while holding New Zealand’s trade interests as a premier function.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Strategic Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Strategic Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Centre for Strategic Studies

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Pardesi, Manjeet; Capie, David