Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Pacific Women's Stories of Becoming a Nurse in New Zealand: a Radical Hermeneutic Reconstruction of Marginality

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posted on 2021-11-03, 01:47 authored by Southwick, Margaret R

This thesis examines Pacific women’s experiences of becoming a nurse and their first year of practice post Registration, within the New Zealand context. The participant’s stories of being students and beginning practitioners are inter-woven with my own reflections as a nurse and nurse educator who also claims a Pacific cultural heritage.  To create the space in which our stories can be laid down, the thesis includes a description of the migration and settlement of Pacific peoples in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This description shows how Pacific people have been systematically stigmatised and locked into marginalised positions by mainstream dominant culture.  The thesis deconstructs taken-for-granted and self perpetuating conceptualisations of marginality that currently underpins most theoretical explanations and proposes a reconstructed map of marginality. This deconstructed/reconstructed map of marginality is used as a template through which the experiences of the participants are filtered and interpreted.  Radical Hermeneutics provides a philosophical underpinning for this project that has as one of its objectives the desire to resist reducing complexity to simplistic explanation and superficial solutions. The thesis challenges Nursing to examine its role in reproducing the hegemonic power of dominant culture by applying unexamined cultural normative values that create binary boundaries between ‘them’ and ‘us’. At the same time the thesis challenges Pacific people to move past hegemonically induced states of alienation and learn how to walk in multiple worlds with confidence and power.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Doctor of Philosophy

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health


Dixon, Alison; Clare, Judith