Interethnic Mothering - A Narrative Inquiry

Davis, Lucia
Waring, Marilyn
DeSouza, Ruth
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

This narrative inquiry research brings to the larger field of motherhood studies particular experiences of migrant mothers, mothering in interethnic relationships. It presents a contextualized insight to interethnic mothering in New Zealand over a span of nearly 60 years. Personal experiences of sixteen immigrant mothers in New Zealand were captured through their stories and analyzed through narrative inquiry lenses, where the participants were not only the protagonists, but also the narrators of their stories. As narrators, they gave voice to significant others in their stories and filtered their mothering journey not only through action, but also through a large array of possibilities, opportunities, regrets and redemption.

The research identified child-raising negotiations immigrant mothers held with the fathers of their multicultural children (fathers being New Zealanders of Maori or Caucasian descent) and with the New Zealand society at large, about culture, language, food, education and parenting milestones. The methodology used, narrative inquiry, allowed the researcher to distinguish between the temporal and spatial dimensions of the research and those of the shared stories of interethnic mothering. Personal narratives of mothering evolved in the context of master narratives of motherhood from countries of origin, where mothers were mothered, and from New Zealand, where their mothering begun, in a continuous balancing act. The time concept was enlarged to encompass the chronology of parenting interrupted by Kairos, the cyclical time of celebrations, enacted as cultural transmission tools. Emplotment and character mapping unpacked the richness of intercultural negotiations within mothers’ narratives.

Interethnic parenting is becoming a reality for an increasing number of mothers in New Zealand and internationally. This research aims to inform practices of health care, education, employment, services delivered by central and local government, the business sector and Non-Governmental Organisations of the diverse reality of interethnic mothering in New Zealand.

Interethnic Mothering , Narrative Inquiry , Migrant , Culture , Children , Emplotment , Character mapping , Time
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