In 2000, the forerunner to the National Centre for Research on Europe (NCRE) - the Centre for Research on Europe - was founded at Canterbury. In 2002 a grant from the European Commission was awarded and at this time the Centre became the National Centre for Research on Europe. The NCRE remains the only EU-dedicated tertiary level centre in New Zealand. Since then, the NCRE has developed significantly in both academic and outreach activities, involving a variety of roles and mechanisms. Since 2006, the NCRE has managed the EU Centres Network of New Zealand incorporating all 8 NZ universities and has formal links with similar EU centres in the Asia-Pacific, including Monash, RMIT and the ANU in Australia, Waseda and Keio universities in Japan, NUS in Singapore and Fudan and Tsinghua in China.
The main focus of the NCRE is on research into how the European Union impacts on the Asia-Pacific region, with special emphasis on media perceptions, development policy, trade and regional integration.