World first Indonesia Centre opens in Auckland

06 Sep, 2017
The AUT Indonesia Centre is a world first, and if successful is likely to be repeated in cities around the world.
A new centre designed to promote Indonesia in New Zealand and strengthen relations between the two countries, has opened in Auckland. Hosted by AUT, the centre is a world first, and if successful is likely to be repeated in cities around the world.

A physical space which houses a full royal Javan Gamelan orchestra, gifted to AUT by the Indonesia Ministry of Education and Culture, the AUT Indonesia Centre is based at the university’s City Campus.

In partnership with the Indonesia Government, AUT will offer a range of programmes from learning Bahasa Indonesia, batik, music and culinary courses through the centre. The centre will also facilitate exchanges for AUT and Indonesian students between the two countries.

Associate Professor Sharyn Graham Davies from the School of Social Sciences is an expert on Indonesia. She says the centre will be an addition to both the cultural life of the university and Auckland.

“It’s really important that New Zealand cultivates a relationship with Indonesia for a number of reasons. It is the fourth most populous country in the world and it’s right on our doorstep. Yet many people in New Zealand know very little about it. They may have been to Bali but for many that is the extent of their experience of this culturally diverse and economically important country. If we want to capitalise on the growth occurring in Indonesia we really need to be encouraging New Zealanders to be Asia-aware, and specifically Indonesia-aware,” Sharyn says.

“This centre is designed to bridge that gap by offering courses, exchanges and events, not only for AUT staff and students, but to the public. We hope it will become a window for New Zealanders to know more about Indonesia and one day get to the point of wanting to visit Indonesia to learn more about the country,” she adds.

A pilot project for promoting Indonesia to New Zealanders, the centre was officially opened by Indonesia’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya on Wednesday 30 August. The event gave a glimpse into Indonesia’s rich cultural diversity with dancers performing several traditional Javanese dances and an orchestra playing the Gamelan.

Director of AUT’s International Relations and Development, Lester Khoo, said the AUT Indonesia Centre is the fruition of many years of the university working closely with Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture.

“It’s very important that New Zealand engages with Indonesia, otherwise we risk being irrelevant. This centre is the first step towards a longer-term vision of New Zealand strengthening its connection with Indonesia.”

The first course to be offered through the AUT Indonesia Centre will be Introduction to Indonesia Language taking place over six Wednesday evenings from 1 October – 8 November from 5-6.30pm. Students who enrol in the Bahasa Indonesia language course are eligible to receive a $150 grant-in-aid upon completing the course.  For more information and to enrol onto the Introduction to Indonesia Language course, contact Sharyn Graham Davies by emailing: .

Summer School credit programmes on design and film making, NZ dining and Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE) will take place from mid-January to mid-February 2018 for Indonesian university students.

For more information on the AUT Indonesia Centre contact the Office of International Relations & Development by emailing:

Photo credit: Peter Feng.

Website search