Asian Transnational Families in New Zealand: Dynamics and Challenges

Since the 1990s, Asia has emerged as the major contributor of migration flows into New Zealand. Settler migration, tourism, international business and more recently, international education make up the diverse flows of Asian peoples into the country. This paper explores the changing dynamics of Asian transnational families over the last two decades, with a special focus on the experiences of young people within these families. In the early 1990s, bi-local families were commonly known as "astronaut" families, in which one or both parents returned to their countries of origin to work, leaving their children to be educated in New Zealand. Over time the structures of these families have changed, as many young migrants relocated back to their former homeland or re-migrated to a third country, while "astronaut parents" rejoined their spouses either in the origin or destination. More recently, the educational migration of international students from countries in Asia has given rise to another form of transnational family, in which young people enter New Zealand as international students and some subsequently become residents. In this paper, the experiences of these young people are explored within the wider context of family strategies for maximising benefits through spatially extended networks on the one hand, and government initiatives and immigration policy changes that have been taking place in New Zealand since the 1990s on the other.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Ho, E. & Bedford, R. (2008). Asian transnational families in New Zealand: Dynamics and challenges. International Migration, 46(4), 41-62.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd