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Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

French continues to be the modern language most frequently taught in New Zealand, ahead of Japanese. The language assistant programme in France provides opportunities for some 50 young New Zealanders a year to extend their knowledge of France and its language.

In addition, the Working Holiday Visa (WHV) scheme for young people between 15 and 30 enables young New Zealanders to stay and work in France for up to a year. A reciprocal arrangement is in place for young French visitors to New Zealand. The scheme attracts some 200 applications a year from New Zealanders and 1,500 from their French counterparts.

Literature is one of the cornerstones of cultural cooperation between the two countries, with two writer’s residencies in place, one based in Menton and the other in Wellington. New Zealand literature was showcased in France in 2006 as part of the "Belles Etrangères" programme (translations of works and meetings with authors) organised by the Ministry of Culture.

The New Zealand-France Friendship Fund (http://www.nz-franceff.com/index.html), set up in 1991 with capital funding of €1.8 million, selects projects designed to promote cultural dialogue between the two countries (cultural, educational, sports and academic exchanges, etc.). The terms of the Fund were amended in 2006 to allow the release of capital in order to fund annual cooperation projects on a larger scale.

The French government acceded to New Zealand’s request for the return of mummified Maori ancestral heads (Toi moko) held in French museums. An initial ceremony was held in May 2011 at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington to mark the return of the first head from the Museum of Rouen, and was attended by a delegation from the French Senate. The remaining Toi moko were returned in January 2012.

There is a long history of scientific cooperation between the two countries in the fields of volcanology, forestry and agriculture. Fresh impetus was provided in 2005 with the signing of the Dumont d’Urville science cooperation programme (http://www.campusfrance.org/fr/dumont, Hubert Curien Partnerships http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/en…). Under the programme, the two States provide matching funding for two-year projects in the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology and renewable energy.

France also encourages research in the Pacific into issues specific to the region, via its Fund for Cultural, Economic, Social and Cultural Cooperation in the Pacific. The Pacific Fund, as it is known for short, supports between four and five projects a year, originated either by New Zealand or by the French Pacific territories.

Updated on 11.07.13

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All rights reserved - French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development - 2014