Brazil is the ninth largest economy in the world, the largest in Latin America, and constitutes a market of 211 million people. That makes Brazil an important place for New Zealand’s focus.

So how do we do that?

A key Latin America CAPE objective is to build New Zealanders' Spanish and Portuguese language capabilities. These skills are an integral part of global competence and can enhance people-to-people engagement, cross-cultural effectiveness, and business results in New Zealand and Latin America - specifically by deploying skilled employees with advanced language capability or professional interpreters and translators.

We’re delighted, alongside the Brazilian Embassy, to promote the new Diploma in Arts - Portuguese at Massey University. The programme is offered both at the Massey Wellington Campus and also via Distance Learning.

The programme focuses on language skills and on participant’s developing knowledge and understanding of Brazilian people and culture - critical building blocks for people to work effectively with Brazilians in New Zealand, Brazil, and globally. Here are a few interesting facts about Brazil:

  • Although Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, there are over 200 other languages, the majority of which are indigenous. 
  • Brazil is the world’s largest producer of coffee and sugar cane.
  • The Brazilian company Embraer is now one of the four biggest makers of commercial passenger craft in the world. 
  • Brazil is home to the worlds’ largest carnival taking place in February – March annually.
  • Brazil shares a border with every South American country apart from Ecuador and Chile.



There were 2,868 Brazilians resident in New Zealand in 2013 (Statistics NZ, 2013), with the community growing significantly in the last five years. This means there are lots of opportunities to practice speaking Portuguese and learning about Brazil in New Zealand!

We look forward to sharing more about the success of the programme from Associate Professor Leonel Alvarado, a Massey University specialist in Latin American languages and culture. To those signing up for the Massey University Portuguese language programme, boa sorte! (Good luck!)

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