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

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Massey University
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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.
Samoans, Family relationships, Social life and customs, Youth, New Zealand