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Sekhar Bandyopadhyay does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. More than half a million people of Indian descent live in Australia and New Zealand. The history of the Indian diaspora in these countries is older than many might imagine, going back years.


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This little known fact - along with many others — comes to light in a new book on the year history of Indians to New Zealand and Australia, which traces the diaspora from its earliest days until now. The East India Company was carrying out a flourishing trade in the South Pacific and many of its ships were manned by Indians, used as sepoys soldiers and lascars sailors.

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Indian immigrant women are a growing population in New Zealand.

Their well-being has been shaped in their country of origin by a collectivist society, and is in part influenced by their ability to settle in a new and unfamiliar environment. Settling in New Zealand challenges their well-being and the ways in which they engage with society.

Those with children are ificantly influenced by their needs. A grounded theory methodology was used as a basis for interviewing 25 Indian immigrant women, living in New Zealand, about how they created a place for themselves and their families through theirchoice of, and engagement in, everyday activities. However, as the children grewolder, the women found themselves shifting towards activities more reflective of New Zealand practices, believing that their children had an embedded understanding of the Indian culture.

Thus, the and age of children at the time of immigration influenced which activities the women chose to participate in and how they maintained their wellbeing in an unfamiliar environment. Becoming an immigrant can ificantly disrupt such participation. Emigrating to another country involves immersion in an unfamiliar environment and the potential disruption of activities in which people Indians in nz on a daily basis. Important aspects of the immigrant experience are the assumptions that they and the host population make about each other, and how easy or challenging it is to engage in commonplace activities, such as cooking or Indians in nz, in new surroundings.

For the immigrant, settling in a new country Indians in nz be a stressful experience that requires some form of adaptation and adjustment to valued activities Dyck, ; Christiansen and Baum, ; Blair, ; Hamilton, How successful immigrants are in engaging in commonplace activities will depend on a combination of their determination and skills and the needs and actions of those around them Nayar and Hocking, Ultimately their success has ramifications for settlement and well-being, the latter being an optimal state of health in which people feel comfortable and at ease when performing daily activities Yerxa, New Zealand is increasingly the destination of many immigrants, with approximately 82 permanent and long-term immigrants residing in that country Statistics New Zealand, Current New Zealand immigration policy deliberately seeks skilled immigrants Department of Labour, for the purpose of facilitating national growth and ensuring that an effective contribution is made to society.

From a settlement perspective, this requires new immigrants to learn about and incorporate New Zealand culture and practices into their lives. However, for this to happen, immigrants require a healthy sense of wellbeing, which is often grounded in the daily activities in which they engage. In the context of settling in New Zealand, the wellbeing of Indian immigrant women can be seen to be socially constructed and shaped by the collectivist society within which they were raised Nayar Indians in nz al, ; Nayar, Whether or not they have children can ificantly influence the activities and well-being of the women and their families as they settle into their new lives.

For example, going through the immigration process with or without children, and the age of children at the time of immigration, can both have a ificant effect on the choices that Indian immigrant women make about daily activities that may influence their well-being. The focus of this paper is on these everyday experiences and their impact on the wellbeing of Indian immigrant women settling in New Zealand. For many Indian women, their well-being is shaped by the collective societal structure within which they are raised Vaidyanathan, ; Mehta and Belk,and further grounded within the Indian culture and historical experiences Khare, The following section reviews the connection between well-being and activity for Indian immigrant women, and considers the Indians in nz of their collective cultural upbringing.

Maintaining good health and well-being requires active participation in all aspects of daily life.

The findings of a study in Canada showed that, within the home, prayer and food were used Indians in nz maintain wellbeing, whereas in the community, engaging in social networks was central to healthy living Dyck, These findings point to the notion of well-being as profoundly social.

Other studies of Indian immigrant women, which were conducted in Canada and the USA, show a link between poor health and decreased well-being Soni Raleigh et al, ; Prabhakar, ; Tewary, ; Acharya and Northcott, In particular, problems of isolation, loneliness and cultural conflict have been posited as potential sources of mental health problems.

Indian women immigrants living in Canada found that isolation and loneliness, resulting from a lack of informal support and from language barriers, contributed to mental health problems and a reduction in well-being Choudhry, More recently, Tewary reviewed various theories that have been offered to explain the development of mental health problems among Asian Indian immigrant women in the USA, and found that many were encouraged into higher education and employment, while still being expected to be the carriers of cultural traditions.

Tewary posited that the ensuing cultural conflict might induce stress and affect psychosocial development, which in turn could make the process of settlement and contribution to the new society a much more difficult undertaking.

However, one key activity that has been discussed, in terms of being influenced by children, is that of parenting. Many Indian immigrant women still believe in incorporating their original values in their parenting style Tewary, The challenge of parenting and the importance of educating children about their cultural heritage is a theme that has arisen in studies of Indian immigrants living in the USA Hickey, and Canada Choudhry, ; Martins and Reid, The findings of these studies revealed that the participants struggled to raise their children based on traditional values at home, only to find that their children were being taught different values when at school.

Thus a key concern for the participants involved fulfilling their traditional roles Indians in nz homemaker, caregiver and housewife, and how Indians in nz would instil Indian culture in their children Martins and Reid, The desire of Indian immigrant women to ensure that their children have an understanding of their culture connects activity and well-being as seen in the occupation of parenting.

In a comprehensive review of cultural paradigms for Indian women, Guzder and Indians in nz found that the identity and well-being of Indian women are still framed by traditional family beliefs. One such belief is that the home and family are the domain of Indian women Chanda and Owen,in which they have been primarily identified in terms of their roles as wife or mother and by their relationship to family members Vaidyanathan,a relationship that strongly influences well-being.

Maintaining these relationships in the form of family cohesion, social support and parental control, with a constant Indians in nz of affect and responsiveness between family members, are characteristic features of a Indians in nz Indian family system Roland, ; Guzder and Krishna, Given the collectivist nature of these family and societal systems, Indian women may be likely to assume the values and beliefs of ificant others, and consequently have less connection with the notion of personal beliefs and value systems.

Arranged marriages are considered an important societal tradition for ing different families together Johnson and Johnson,and childbearing is expected within the marriage Mines, Although clear links are seen in the literature between well-being and both activity and the family system, there is little evidence to support the idea that children influence or shape the activities inwhich their mothers engage, or to indicate how this affects the well-being of the women. This research draws attention to the role of children in shaping the activity choices and well-being of Indian immigrant women settling in New Zealand.

The aim of the overall study was to investigate how Indian immigrant women maintain their well-being when settling in New Zealand. Grounded theory methodology reveals the processes that underlie societal functioning Strauss, ; Glaser,and thus informs understanding of interactions between people. In this instance, the focus was on interactions between the Indian women and their family members during the settlement process, and how these interactions influenced activity choices in relation to maintaining well-being.

In Indians in nz, 28 Indian women were invited to take part in the study.

However, after receiving the participant information sheet, three women declined to participate. They did not provide a reason for their decision. Thus, a total of 25 Indian women, who had emigrated directly from India to New Zealand during the period —, participated in this study.

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The women were aged 18—65 years and lived in one of three cities located in the North Island of New Zealand. Fifteen women had emigrated with their children, while a Indians in nz five women gave birth to children after arrival in New Zealand.

Two women emigrated to New Zealand unaccompanied, and were ed by their husband and children at a later date. experience of recruiting Indian women for research indicated that they responded best to face-toface contact. Therefore leaders within the Indian communities e.

As a result, four women consented to participate in the research. As the study proceeded, theoretical sampling, a hallmark of grounded theory methodology, was used to recruit a further 21 participants who could assist with theory development. For instance, the first eight interviews were conductedwith women who had emigrated with children. Therefore the ninth interview was conductedwith a woman who did not have children, in order to ascertain what, if any, differences might arise.

As data analyses progressed, the same opening question was used to prepare participants for the focus of the research. Specific questions were then used to help to develop dimensions of emerging concepts that arose during the course of the analysis process e.

Each interview lasted approximately 60—90 minutes. All interviews were audio Indians in nz and transcribed verbatim. Participants were offered the opportunity to receive a copy of their interview transcript so that they could check it for accuracy, and were asked to respond with any changes within a period of 3 weeks. Two participants requested copies of their transcript and one responded by providing corrections to the spelling of Indian words.

Field observations were used to supplement information elicited during individual interviews. These observations included ing participants as they engaged in their everyday activities e. Field notes were generated and used as data for further analysis.

Settling in new zealand: the well-being of indian immigrant women as shaped by their children

During the data analysis the researcher regularly met with supervisors to discuss the Indians in nz. As the analysis proceeded and and relationships were identified, these were taken back to participants for member checking and to ensure that the participants could identify with the emerging theory. Interview transcripts were analysed line by line in order to identify codes. These codes were then grouped intoand the relationships between were explored using the dimensional matrix Schatzman, Dimensional analysis is a specific approach to grounded theory, and the dimensional matrix provides a framework for the ordering and conceptualising of data Schatzman, When using the matrix to organise data, Schatzman proposed that every dimension needs to be given an opportunity to act as a perspective.

The dimensions of this concept included the age and of children. Dimensional analysis enabled the relationship between woman and child, as it unfolds through activity as part of the settlement process, to be elucidated and organised. Throughout the process, memos documented the thinking process and analytical direction.

Following analysis of the last interview, no new information was forthcoming, and it was concluded that saturation of and concepts had been reached.

The and age of children was a salient condition that influenced the types of activities in which Indian immigrant women engaged as they settled in New Zealand. The specific activities in which the Indians in nz engaged, as influenced by their children, ultimately influenced their sense of wellbeing. For example, within the home, the women were more likely to enact cultural traditions so that their children maintained links with their Indian heritage.

This in turn increased their well-being as they remained grounded in their culture. The absence of children meant that in some circumstances it was easier to engage in activities. For example, Guddi recalled the experience of buying her first home prior to having her daughter:.

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Sandra came first unaccompanied in order to find employment and establish Indians in nz home before her husband and daughter ed her. Despite the fact that she did not feel like part of the New Zealand community, resulting in a diminished sense of well-being, ultimately the opportunities that living in New Zealand offered for her daughter motivated Sandra to persevere with settling in an unfamiliar environment:. Good opportunities, good living conditions. For both Sandra and Guddi, not having children motivated them to engage in new and daily activities with mixed for their individual well-being.