Pathways to Positive Development for Muslim Youth in New Zealand

Published 2009. Contact: Jaimee Stuart.


This is a qualitative, exploratory study which examined the question ‘What are the indicators and determinants of participation and success for Muslim youth?’.


Self-selected ‘successful’ young Muslim migrants were targeted for inclusion in the study. In total 14 interviews and 4 focus groups were carried out with a total of 24 participants who had a ranged in age from 19-27, and had a variety of ethnicities and lengths of time in New Zealand.

Two community forums were also conducted to allow for input on the representativeness of the results for Muslim young people. The data were subject to thematic analysis, from which a series of themes emerged. These themes were then clustered together under six major categories:

  • discrimination
  • acculturation
  • individual characteristics
  • family, friends and community
  • New Zealand society
  • adaptation.


Overall, this study found that while young Muslims in New Zealand did indeed face a variety of threats to their development, their pathways to adjustment were rooted within a supportive context that both promoted positive outcomes and diminished risks.

The results from this study suggest that there are protective elements for this group which are embedded in the process of cultural transition. Specifically, the research shows that resilience emerges from the process of managing multiple cultural demands.