Leading businesses say Asian languages and culture should be given greater priority at school because the region's economies will become increasingly important to New Zealand's success.
Forty-two businesses and interest groups, including Fonterra, Federated Farmers and Kiwibank, have backed a call from the Asia New Zealand Foundation for greater emphasis on Asian studies in the school curriculum.
Asia New Zealand Foundation director Richard Grant says despite Asia's growing importance, more students learn French than those learning Chinese, Japanese and Korean combined.
Employers and Manufacturers' Association (Northern) chief executive Alasdair Thompson says students also need to understand Asian culture and ways of doing business, to ensure New Zealand markets continue to grow.
The Asia New Zealand Foundation has published a guide for schools on how to become more aware of Asia.