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Settling in New Zealand: the well-being of Indian immigrant women as shaped by their children

Indian immigrant women are a growing population  in New Zealand. Their well-being has been shaped in their country of origin by a collectivist society, and is in part influenced by their ability to settle in a new and unfamiliar environment. Settling in New Zealand challenges their well-being and the ways in which they engage with society. Those with children are significantly influenced by their needs. A grounded theory methodology was used as a basis for interviewing 25 Indian immigrant women, living in New Zealand, about how they created a place for themselves and their families through theirchoice of, and engagement in, everyday activities. The data were analysed using dimensional analysis, which revealed that as the women settled in New Zealand, their choice of activities and thus their well-being was influenced by a salient condition, namely ‘number and age of children.’ The findings showed that, within the home, the women focused on enacting cultural traditions to ensure that their children maintained links with their Indian heritage. However, as the children grewolder, the women found themselves shifting towards activities more reflective of New Zealand practices, believing that their children had an embedded understanding of the Indian culture. Thus, the number and age of children at the time of immigration influenced which activities the women chose to participate in and how they maintained their wellbeing in an unfamiliar environment.

Author(s): Shoba Nayar

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