Stories of love and becoming : women’s experiences of migration and everyday life in Aotearoa : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand

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Colonialism, patriarchy and neoliberalism intersect with race and gender to produce partial configurations of ethnic migrant women as vulnerable and deficient, which research then attends to, thus reproducing and reinforcing that migrant women are lacking. However, within the spaces of everyday life, migrant women’s experiences, including my own, contested these dominant narratives. This represented a gap between research and practice, and raised questions about what could become known if we attended to the power relations that form the conditions of migrant women’s everyday lives. The aim of my research was to share migrant women’s stories, so that in and through their multiple and diverse locations, they could speak into the gap and tell about the meaning that difference makes in their everyday lives. To do difference differently, I conceptualised women’s stories as gifts, which required me to respond in responsible ways. Hearing responsibly enabled me to hear the sticky moments and relationships of difference present in women’s lives, and to reimagine experiences of migration and everyday life in ways that showed the vitalities and joys of difference. What is represented in this research is a rearticulation of the meaning(s) of difference(s) that I became enabled to hear through my conversations with eight ethnic migrant women. By hearing responsibly, women’s differences became reimagined as resistances, new narratives of diversity, stories of potentials and stories of affirming love. Through my analysis, possibilities are opened for understanding migrant women’s differences as expressed in their daily lives in celebratory and unbounded ways.