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Past Project

Strangers in Town: Enhancing Family and Community in a More Diverse New Zealand Society (2002-2010)

Objective 1: Building knowledge on Family and Community Dimensions of Mobility
Objective 1 seeks to determine the contributions mobility makes to the changing nature of families and communities through improved utilisation of macro-data bases. The research is generating new knowledge about the macro-dynamics of individual and family adaptation to a new country of residence, the movements of individuals and families between New Zealand’s rural and urban areas, as well as their movements between New Zealand and Australia. The knowledge that is being generated is improving our understanding of the changing nature of 'family' and 'community' in contemporary New Zealand society. Government agencies, such as the Departments of Labour, Statistics, Internal Affairs, the Treasury and the Ministries of Health, Education, Economic Development, and Social Development, are drawing on the knowledge generated to improve the quality of policy advice to government.

Objective 2: Applying knowledge on Family and Community Dimensions of Mobility
Objective 2 addresses policy implementation with regard to improving the well-being of families and communities. It examines specific aspects of the implications of mobility for the education, employment, housing and service needs and experiences of those who move and those who stay in particular communities. In order to draw implications of mobility for communities, we believe it is important that this study focuses not only on those individuals and families that have moved, but also those who have not moved. In other words, the rapid rates of in- and out-migration affect the community as a whole, not just those families that have members who move.

Micro-level purposive studies on families and communities have been carried out to fill gaps in existing knowledge. These studies have been mainly in the Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions, because rural and urban communities in these regions are the sources and destinations for the majority of people who move within and into New Zealand. Based on the findings from this research, implications for policy implementation have been drawn. In addition, approaches and intervention strategies that can be used to enhance well-being of families and communities have been developed.

A major conference is held each year with members of key government agencies and researchers from other research programmes dealing with population, migration and community dynamics, where policy-relevant information is shared.  The last of these conferences (Pathways, circuits and crossroads: new research on population, migration and community dynamics) was held in June 2008.  The programme, abstracts, and many of the powerpoint presentations can be obtained from

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