Undertaking everyday activities: immigrant Indian women settling in New Zealand

To date, very little has been written about Indian people migrating to New Zealand, and yet they constitute the second largest Asian group in New Zealand society. This paper describes the findings of a small-scale qualitative study into the everyday activities of Indian women who have recently immigrated to New Zealand, as they endeavour to settle into a foreign environment. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with eight women of Indian origin who had immigrated within the past five years. Using a grounded theory methodology to guide the study, a model explaining their engagement in everyday activities was generated. The findings show that participation in self-care, productive and leisure activities changes over time, as the women learn about their new environment, the resources available to them, and how things are done in New Zealand. Specifically, three interconnecting processes were identified. The first process, ‘oh God, where did I come?’, describes how being in an unfamiliar environment initially compels the women to do familiar activities that boost their confidence and support wellbeing. The second process, ‘being in the change’, sees women getting to know their environment and engaging in both new and familiar activities. ‘A New Zealander with an Indian soul’ finds women doing more activities that challenge their abilities and knowledge of New Zealand culture. Underpinning these findings is the importance of everyday activities in supporting wellbeing. This paper highlights implications for policy within New Zealand to assistimmigrants to settle, by supporting engagement in activities that promote wellbeing.

Author(s): Shoba Nayar, Clare Hocking

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