thesis_access.pdf (1.56 MB)
Download file

Sophisticated Mediators: New Zealand-Born Samoan First-Time Mothers and Strategies for Their Health and Wellbeing

Download (1.56 MB)
posted on 10.11.2021, 19:34 by Churchward, Marianna Ellen

This thesis explores the experiences of four New Zealand-born Samoan first time mothers during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood living in Wellington. The impetus for this research arose from findings that showed a considerable variation in the prevalence of postnatal depression between Samoan women (7.6%), Tongan women (30.9%) and others (20% for all New Zealand mothers). Qualitative, face-to-face individual interviews were conducted within a qualitative feminist framework. The two interviews with each woman were conducted during the last trimester of their pregnancy (28+weeks gestation); and 12 months post-birth. The thesis drew upon the four-element model – Epistemology, Theoretical Perspective, Methodology and Methods to provide a framework to conceptualise and clarify the foundation for this research project. Thus the thesis is best described as a feminist phenomenological social constructionist approach. The findings revealed the women of this study were „Sophisticated Mediators‟ who, although faced with many challenges throughout their pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood experiences, mediated successfully between, and within, existing cultural and belief systems i.e. Samoan traditional values and New Zealand cultural system; to acquire or maintain resilience toward depressive symptoms during early motherhood. Support structures such as family, in particular mothers, proved to be a vital source of support for the women. Recommendations arising from the research are targeted at support providers and family members and this is discussed in detail. Antenatal care was important although antenatal classes not so; conversely, the women were high adopters of technology in the form of the internet to access information. It is vital for support providers to recognise the high regard the women had for the internet as a source of valuable and easily accessible information, and utilise those avenues more to provide information that will complement or improve the existing support structures. During the antenatal period, women should be encouraged to develop or strengthen relationships with a significant female who will be with them throughout the childbirth and early motherhood process.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Social Science Research

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts (Applied)

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Teaiwa, Teresia