Ngā wāhine kaha from Syria: The experience of former refugee women from Syria resettling in Aotearoa New Zealand
This thesis examines the experience of former refugee women from Syria resettling in Aotearoa New Zealand. It focuses on Syrian women who have resettled in the Wellington region and Dunedin - the two main areas to which Syrian refugees have been allocated. The study documented Syrian refugee women’s perspectives about resettlement satisfaction, their strengths and challenges, and their ideas for community development. The methodology and analysis for the study incorporated the Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) to resettlement and the Mana Wahine framework. Through forty-five survey participants and three focus groups, the study found that the integration of wairua/spirituality, cultural identity, language and whanaungatanga/relationships in the family was very important for Syrian women’s resettlement in Aotearoa New Zealand. This study found gender roles between men and women strongly exist in the Syrian community. Many refugee women found their roles changed and lost the support they used to have from family members back home. Participants also expressed facing isolation resulting from cultural aspects. These show refugee women have bigger challenges to integration compared to their male counterparts, and that Syrian women have specific cultural rights related to their gender and religion. However, refugee resettlement services and community development were delivered the same way for men and women, and more types of supports are needed for refugee women.