‘Ou te le fefe – Interpreting statistical data through a cultural lens

Group identity Immigration Cultural assimilation Pacific people New Zealand
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For Pacific peoples, Aotearoa-New Zealand has always been a land of opportunity as it is for everyone who arrives (or had arrived) on these shores. All have come with their hopes, their dreams and their visions of a better life for themselves and their children. This thesis critically examines the data from the first ever Aotearoa-New Zealand General Social Survey (GSS) 2008 to answer the question, ‘Does information about Pasifika objective well-being (OWB) and subjective well-being (SWB) illuminate existing perspectives on what it’s like to be a Pasifika in Aotearoa-New Zealand?’

While this research is primarily a quantitative analysis of secondary data, the analysis is framed within a cultural paradigm that is, a cultural lens, thus presenting a Pacific interpretation of the data about social well-being and giving expression to the impact on Pacific people whose voices remain largely silent. Three research questions are investigated; How well and not so well are Pacific peoples doing when compared to other communities and the total population?; How well or not so well are pacific peoples doing amongst their own community? How well or not so well are pacific peoples doing in different areas of life domains?

Three methods of analysis were conducted; two-way cross-tabulations using ethnicity and selected NZGSS: 2008 variables; three-way cross-tabulations using ethnicity, selected NZGSS: 2008 variables and 4 social variables- age, place of birth, family type and sex; and lastly a factor analysis investigating interrelationships among selected NZGSS: 2008 variables. Statistical tests of significance accompanied by an effect-size statistic were conducted; p-value p= 0.05 or (5%) and effect size or strength of association is equal to or greater than ETA = 0.1. An initial 171 contingency tables with accompanying statistical tests were produced. A final 65 contingency tables were further examined. The factor structure for Pacific peoples found eight dimensions in the component space accounting for 62.49% of the rotated variance.

The findings provide a strong argument for those involved in developing statistical measures that measure the social well-being of Pacific peoples to develop new frameworks which reach out and capture the voices of Pacific peoples living in Aotearoa-New Zealand.

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