Organisation and dynamics of family relations and implications for the wellbeing of Sāmoan youth in Aotearoa, New Zealand : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology at Massey University, New Zealand
Family plays a fundamental role in the wellbeing of Samoan young people. The ways
in which families are structured and organised influences the levels of wellbeing for
Samoan young people. In New Zealand and migrant enclaves, Samoan families have
experienced major transformations that affect family structure and organisation due to
social and economic influences. These transformations can have both positive and
negative effects on the wellbeing of Samoan families.
This thesis presents the voices of 45 Samoan young people attending secondary
school in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. The young people shared their
experiences on how various elements of their family relationships influenced their
wellbeing. It uses a mixed method approach, using qualitative and quantitative
methods to investigate the connection between wellbeing and family from a variety of
sources. The methodology, o le tele o sulu e maua ai figota, literally translated as “the
more torches used the more shellfish found” refers to the different perspectives,
methods and theoretical frameworks used in this study to gain more knowledge and
understanding of the connection between wellbeing and family.
The findings from this research emphasise that there are both positive and negative
connections between wellbeing and family. European theorists proposed that positive
relationships are protective factors for the wellbeing of young people. This study
extends this notion by stating that positive collective, balanced relationships which
consist of mutual understanding, respect, trust and support in families are protective
factors for Samoan young people. The findings from this research suggest important
areas warrant further investigation and future consideration for Samoan people.