"New" New Zealanders, or harbingers of a new transnationalism? : 1.5 generation Asian migrant adolescents in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
This thesis is concerned with the experiences of acculturation, settlement and ethnic identity formation of a sample of 1.5 generation adolescent migrants from Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, who migrated to New Zealand as children, and who participated in the research as fifteen-to-nineteen year-olds. Advocating a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods as a particularly effective way of 'doing sociology', the thesis addresses the experiences of these migrants by exploring their perceptions and assignments of meaning with regard to their own ethnic identity, their sense of belonging and the social distance between themselves and others in New Zealand society; their acculturation experiences and strategies; their relationships with their parents and other family members; and their engagement with the wider community, through participation in clubs and other extra-curricular activities. The thesis posits that the experiences of migrant adolescents have been under-theorised, despite their particular sociological appeal, as they are located at the convergence of a number of different social pressures: between childhood and adulthood; often between their parents and the local community; between origin and host societies; and between competing demands on loyalty and attachment. These particular migrant adolescents are also sociologically interesting as children of highly-skilled, well-educated parents, who possess not only significant economic capital, but also high levels of social capital, and who have employed strategies of transnationalism in order to preserve and enhance these forms of capital. They have maintained their businesses and relationship networks - and sometimes their family homes - in their origin societies, in addition to pursuing forms of settlement and acculturation in New Zealand. With reference to survey and interview data, and drawing on the relevant literature, the thesis explores the meanings, motives and aspirations of migrant adolescents, and problematises conventional explanations of migrant adjustment and settlement. It posits that many 1.5 generation migrant Asian adolescents develop transnational identities through strategies of selective acculturation and aspirations of pursuing educational and occupational opportunities in other overseas destinations. Analysis of the data suggests that these particular migrants possess the cultural, social and economic resources to reproduce their parents' transnational identities, rather than the conventional and normative model of migrant settlement.