Universities will get $35 million to establish three "centres of Asia-Pacific excellence".

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce announced the Budget 2016 funding details today.

The centres will be established within universities to get exporters and government agencies up to speed on countries in the region. They will language, culture, politics and economics of countries or groups within the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to teaching and researching about countries, the centres will help students, exporters and government agencies to "improve their understanding" about countries and their languages.

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"Each centre will develop strong links with its region of speciality, facilitate student and faculty exchanges, and become a focal point for New Zealand's relationship with that part of the world," Mr Joyce said.

"I anticipate the centres training language-capable graduates for New Zealand exporters, Mfat and other government agencies with posts offshore."

Initially, three centres will be established. The Tertiary Education Commission will seek expressions of interest. The $34.5 million funding is over four years.