More than three-quarters of New Zealanders see Asia as important to the country's future but believe more needs to be done to help them understand Asian cultures and traditions.
The Asia New Zealand Foundation survey of more than 1000 people found Asia is the second most important area in the world to New Zealanders, after Australia.
However, Asia was less important to them than in 2011 and people's perceptions of how important North America and Europe are has also declined.
The Foundation says the survey was carried out in September when unemployment had reached its highest level in more than decade.
It says the results suggest people's economic optimism had decreased and they were looking inwards.
The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent