|dc.description.abstract||This thesis explores the settlement experiences of Kiribati migrants and their families living in New Zealand. In depth qualitative interviews were carried out with a group of Kiribati migrants to elicit data on the main events and activities that influenced their settlement experiences. Using constructivist grounded theory methodology, the analysis revealed a set of common themes that were indicated as shaping the settlement experiences of participants and their families. Starting with the formation of expectations, of a better life in New Zealand, participants and their families received considerable assistance and support from their family and friends (conceptualised as ‘strong ties’) so that they could establish their settlement base in New Zealand. This settlement base, which comprised of securing full-time permanent employment, entering the rental housing market and accessing educational and health services, formed the foundation for the on-going settlement of participants and their families.
Gender differences were evident in how male and female participants sought to improve their positions in the labour market. While male participants used ‘weak ties’ in the form of chance encounters and acquaintances to move into better-paying and more career-oriented jobs, female participants, who did not have these same opportunities, invested in further education to improve their positions in the labour market. Language proficiency, however, was a key determiner as to which female participants would be able to invest in further education, or who would continue to work in their jobs as caregivers. Overall, labour market mobility was indicated as having the most profound influence in the settlement experiences of participants and their families, with those families where both adults continued to work in minimum-wage jobs facing the greatest struggles, particularly in terms of their quality of housing. Those participants trapped in inadequate housing indicated detrimental health impacts for their children and detrimental mental health effects for adults.
The retention by children of their Kiribati culture and language was an overriding aim of the settlement participants and their families. Although children sought to extend their social connections, the lack of a desire of participants to form social connections with other New Zealanders underpinned tensions between children and their parents, and raised questions about the nature of participants’ integration in New Zealand. The complexity of settlement was also affirmed by the detrimental migration impacts on the health of participants, underpinning the finding that seeking ‘a better life in New Zealand’ was not a straightforward process for many participants.||