Sri Lankan Tamil migration to New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History at Massey University, (Manawatū), New Zealand

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Massey University
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Over the past few decades there has been an increasing number of Tamil migrants immigrating to New Zealand from Sri Lanka. This thesis, which is primarily based upon oral history interviews with a group of Sri Lankan Tamil people currently residing in New Zealand, explores the background and proximate reasons for this migration (from Sri Lanka and to New Zealand), the experiences of the migrants in their quest for safety and a better way of life in New Zealand, and some of the challenges met by them in this quest. It is argued that the increasing migration of Tamil people from Sri Lanka to New Zealand reflected a need for a persecuted minority of a country to seek safety and a better way of life, fortuitously intersecting with the needs of the New Zealand economy to attract skilled migrants. Notwithstanding the lasting effects of trauma upon the mental health of some of the interviewees, it is also contended that this group of people represents an example of successful acculturation to a new way of life. They not only have desirable skills to contribute to the New Zealand economy but have demonstrated the ability to adapt successfully to New Zealand society whilst at the same time maintaining a strong cultural identity.