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Cultural Relations

07.03.2018 - Article
cultural relations
cultural relations© Goethe-Institut

New Zealand and Germany enjoy a climate of lively bicultural relations. Over recent years, close ties have been developed particularly in the musical domain: German chamber orchestras and soloists such as the renowned Petersen Quartett, the cellist Christoph Richter, classical pianist Konstanze Eickhorst and several Jazz pianists have performed and conducted workshops in New Zealand. Contemporary German artists have been enjoying great popularity: Carsten Nicolai’s concerts in Auckland as well as the residency by Berlin based singer Barbara Morgenstern and DJ Hans Nieswandt number among the successful bilateral ventures.

A considerable number of German artists have been exhibiting their work in the fields of photography, design or modern art in galleries nationwide. Furthermore, exhibitions such as the one on Bauhaus architecture and photography and the presentations of iconic artists like Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter, Günther Ücker and Rebecca Horn have attracted many visitors.

The literary field also reflects a range of bicultural activities: The “Creative New Zealand Writers Residency” in Berlin for example, funded by the New Zealand Government, offers talented New Zealand writers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the German cultural scene for a year. In 2007, Lloyd Jones was awarded the residency. In return, several German authors have been invited to New Zealand for public readings at the Writers and Readers Weeks or to take part in courses run by the universities’ German departments.

German films are frequently included at local film festivals, the most important one being the International New Zealand Film Festival, held annually in major New Zealand cities in July. In 2007, the award winning film “The Lives of Others” as well as “Go for Zucker” and “Eden” found an appreciative local audience. A particularly important development was the signing of a film co-production agreement in 2005. This agreement has been a catalyst for more New Zealand-German co-productions such as ‘Whale Rider’.

For over 35 years, the Goethe-Institut in Wellington has offered an extensive and wide-ranging programme contributing to the presentation of both traditional and modern aspects of German culture to a New Zealand audience. It welcomes approximately 250 people annually attending language classes for beginners or advanced students and supports 300 German language teachers throughout the country. Most of the above projects and events were co-sponsored by the Goethe-Institut.

New Zealand interest in German culture manifests itself not only in the large number of visitors to these events, but also in the growing attendance at German languages classes, both at secondary and tertiary levels. There are six universities in New Zealand offering a range of German courses from beginners’ to advanced learners’ levels, the latter offering an internationally recognised certificate in German. More and more students of international business are interested in learning German in order to gain access to the large German-speaking market.

There is also a long-standing lively academic exchange between the two countries. In this, the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst; DAAD), a joint venture of Germany’s higher education community and the Federal Government, plays a considerable part by enabling students to attend each other’s universities.

Finally, Germany and New Zealand have been cooperating together successfully in the scientific field for period of almost 30 years. Germany is one of New Zealand’s most important partners in the field of research and technology. The DAAD and the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Foundation (AvH) have made it possible for a large number of NZ students and scientists to work closely with German research teams. As a result, the Julius von Haast-Fellowhip was introduced in 2004, which is awarded exclusively to German scientists.

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