Reconstructing home : Zimbabwean women in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Women's Studies at Massey University

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Massey University
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'Reconstructing home: Zimbabwean women in New Zealand' is a feminist project focusing on the migration experiences of four women aged in their early twenties to late fifties resident in New Zealand over a period of two to five years. Given the expansive nature of women and migration studies, this project presents a partial, situated, reality of the vast migrant experiences of Zimbabwean women in New Zealand. The project uses the concept of 'home' and its potential for belonging or exclusion to explore the implication of gender in the construction of the women's identities. The findings of the project highlight that the identities of the participants arose from perceived differences resulting from their gender, race, ethnicity, age and social status. As a result, home and identity are inflexed as abode, identity, action, a way of life and behaviour. The project centres Zimbabwean women in migration by giving voice to women who are a racial and ethnic minority in New Zealand. The project also acknowledges the diversity of Zimbabwean and celebrates the diversity of these women as shown by their subjectively fluid and sometimes simultaneous positioning in place and time as they interact at home, work, amongst themselves, and in society at large. The project goes beyond identifying the traditional migrant adjustment problems to acknowledging the women's resilience and innovation in seeking a better life for themselves thus transcending the silent sufferer image popularised of women migrants. The resilience and ability to restrategise in face of shifting multiple and changing oppressions resembles a continuous building process through which the participants continue to construct and remodel places in which they best know themselves and ones they can call 'home'.
New Zealand, Women immigrants, Zimbabweans