Annotated Bibliography of New Zealand Literature on Migrant and Refugee Youth
Migrant and refugee young people
'Migrant and refugee young people' refers both to young people (aged 12-24 years) who have come to New Zealand as first generation migrants or refugees (usually with other members of their families) and to those who have been born in New Zealand to first generation migrant or refugee parents. This inclusive definition recognises that 'culturally plural societies are composed [of] ... numerous ethnocultural communities that persist for many generations following migration'. Whether born in New Zealand or elsewhere, the young people who are members of these communities must negotiate growing to adulthood within and between at least two cultures - the culture of their parents' communities (sometimes called their heritage culture) and the culture(s) of their host society. Successful settlement and social inclusion are, therefore, not simply concerns for the 'newly arrived'.
There are advantages and disadvantages associated with bringing together research on young migrants and young refugees, rather than treating them separately. There is a risk that the body of work relating to young migrants will overshadow (the much smaller body of) work relating to the lives of young refugees. The latter group face experiences and challenges on arrival in New Zealand that are not generally faced by their migrant peers, often including traumatic departure from a home country, a long period of time spent in a country of transition in a refugee camp, loss of, or separation from, close family members and so forth. It is important that these experiences do not get lost in a wider discussion on migrant youth. It is also important, however, to recognise that young refugees face all the challenges that their migrant counterparts face, as well as these additional challenges. To treat young refugees separately risks losing the applicability to their lives of a large body of valuable research about young migrants who have come to New Zealand under less traumatic circumstances.
Settlement and social inclusion
There is considerable international discussion and debate about how to understand and measure successful settlement and social inclusion. In compiling this bibliography, these terms have been conceptualised broadly in keeping with the goals of the New Zealand Settlement Strategy.
These goals are for migrants, refugees and their families to:
- obtain employment appropriate to their qualifications and skills
- become confident using English in a New Zealand setting, or be able to access appropriate language support
- access appropriate information and responsive services that are available to the wider community (for example, housing, education and services for families)
- form supportive social networks and establish a sustainable community identity
- feel safe expressing their ethnic identity and be accepted by and become part of the wider host community
- participate in civic, community and social activities.
Spoonley et al. (2005:86) observe that these settlement goals implicitly identify 'an inclusive and cohesive society as one which accommodates new migrants and recognises the contributions that migrants make.' That is to say, social inclusion is implicit in the settlement goals. Spoonley et al. go on to propose a framework for measuring settlement outcomes in New Zealand, in which social inclusion is identified as one of five elements of a socially cohesive and culturally plural society and is defined thus (ibid.:99):
'Inclusion involves equity of opportunities and of outcomes, with regard to labour market participation and income, and access to education and training, social benefits, health services and housing.'
By this definition, social inclusion has direct relevance to specific areas of social policy, particularly those referred to in Goals 1, 2 and 3 of the Settlement Strategy. The remaining goals of the Strategy (building social networks, the expression of ethnic identity and civic participation) are perhaps less directly concerned with social policy but are nevertheless integral to the achievement of successful settlement and a socially cohesive society. Thus, in the Spoonley et al. framework, inclusion sits alongside recognition and legitimacy as a condition for such a society. These conditions in turn are seen to require socially cohesive behaviour in the form of belonging and participation on the part of both migrant/refugee communities and host communities.
Fundamental to all of this (and implicit in the Strategy goals) is the recognition that successful settlement is an outcome of successful relationships between immigrant/refugee communities and a host society and so requires action on the part of both. This idea is played out in international discussions about social inclusion as a necessary condition for successful settlement:
'Inclusion is a two way process of adaptation and adjustment on the part of immigrants and minorities and the larger society, thus requiring the active involvement of all stakeholders.'
This bibliography has drawn from this wide brief and includes material that relates to each of the goals in the Settlement Strategy. As will become clear in the discussion that follows, however, some of these areas have received considerably more attention from researchers than others. Some of the key gaps in the research picture that the bibliography describes are discussed at the end of this commentary.
New Zealand evidence
All pieces of work in the bibliography are based on research of some kind. This term has, however, been broadly understood and so includes work based on a wide range of methods. Some (relatively few) studies have drawn on large, nationally representative surveys, for example, the Youth2000 survey (Rasanathan et al. 2006 [H25]) and the New Zealand Mental Health Survey (e.g. Beautrais et al. 2006 [H7]). Other large scale projects include a number of education research projects in which national data relating to hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of school students is analysed (e.g. Nash, 2000 [E100]). There is also work involving hundreds of participants from across several generations using multi-lingual research tools (e.g. Liu et al. 2000 [F11], 2003 [F10]). Large scale projects such as these often utilise multiple research methods, involve teams of researchers and employ sophisticated statistical analyses to test hypotheses.
More common, however, are smaller projects based on localised studies such as small scale surveys of a few dozen people, interviews with a score of participants, and case studies of several classrooms, of a homework initiative, or of language maintenance in a local migrant community. Some of these are action research, in which a teacher or a social worker, (an 'insider' of some kind) has decided to investigate the situation of young migrant and refugee people in their school or community. Often these small scale projects are post-graduate theses. There are over eighty theses cited in this bibliography - that is, over twenty-five percent of the literature identified as New Zealand based research in this area has been produced by post-graduate students. In fact, the total is greater if we include articles cited here that emerged from thesis work. It is not difficult to understand why this might be so. Many of the post-graduate students writing these theses are themselves migrants or the children of migrants and have a keen interest in the experiences of refugee and migrant young people. They also have, crucially, an established place in their communities from which to speak with other young people.
Finally, a small number of articles are included that are reflections by migrant young people and by professionals (social workers, psychotherapists etc.) on their practice and experience. These are not, strictly, research based pieces, but they have been included if they are analytical in so far as they engage with the research literature and/or are reflections drawn from particular expertise and experience in this area.
The bibliography contains articles in internationally refereed journals, articles in local non-refereed (but still research based) journals, theses, books, conference proceedings, and reports from government ministries and other agencies. Each item is available publicly in some form or another, whether online or on a library or departmental shelf.
 This is the age range adopted as ‘youth’ by the Ministry of Youth Development.
The literature also refers to ‘the 1.5 generation’, that is, those who came to New Zealand as small children and have grown up in this country (e.g. Bartley 2003 [I3]).
 Berry, J., Phinney, J., Kyunghwa, K., & Sam, D., ‘Introduction: Goals and Research Framework for studying immigrant youth’ in Berry et al. (eds) 2006, Immigrant Youth in Cultural Transition, London, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, p.1.
 Cf. Spoonley, Peace, P.R., Butcher, A., & O’Neill, D., (2005) ‘Social cohesion: a policy and indicator framework for assessing immigrant and host outcomes’, Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, Issue 24, pp.85–110.
 Department of Labour, (2007) Our Future Together: New Zealand Settlement Strategy (available from www.immigration.govt.nz).
 ‘All groups, including the host country, valuing diversity and respecting differences, protection from discrimination and harassment, and a sense of safety’ (Spoonley et al. 2005:103).
 ‘Confidence in public institutions that act to protect rights and interests, the mediation of conflicts and institutional responsiveness’ (ibid).
 ‘Trusting in other people, and having a common respect for the rule of law and for civil and human rights’ (ibid).
 ‘Involvement in economic and social (cultural, religious, leisure) activities, in the work place, family and community settings, in groups and organisations, and in political and civic life’ (ibid).
 Council of Europe (2000:13) Diversity and Cohesion: New Challenges for the Integration of Immigrants and Minorities, Council of Europe (cited in Spoonley et al. 2005:90).