Migration Experiences

Published 2012. Contact: Claudia Recker.


When people move to a different culture do they stick to the cultural norms they are used to, or do they try to learn as much as possible about the new culture? How does this affect how they adapt to living in a new country?

This research explores the motivation to maintain one’s cultural heritage and the motivation to explore the host culture. It investigates whether behaviour influences the motivation of people to maintain the culture of their home country and explore their new country's culture. This would then influence their psychological well-being, satisfaction with life, and their ability to ‘fit in’ and ‘learn the rules’ of the new country.


Broadly speaking, the research suggested that migrants who are motivated to maintain their heritage culture tend to socialise with people from their own culture, and this in turn predicts how satisfied they are with their lives and how well they feel emotionally.

However, the motivation to explore the culture of New Zealand does not predict that migrants socialise with New Zealanders. Instead it directly predicts the ability of migrants to fit into New Zealand society and to learn the cultural rules.

Having contact with New Zealanders, the ability to fit in and knowledge of the rules of the New Zealand society influence wel-lbeing and life satisfaction.