“I’ll tell me Ma’ when I come home” : female Irish migration to Christchurch, New Zealand from 2000-2016.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This study looks at the contemporary migration journey of eight women from the Republic of Ireland from 2000 to 2016, to Christchurch, New Zealand through an oral history methodology. It aims to explore the idea that every migration journey is complex and individual, and that each migrant has their own set of motivations and emotional responses to migration. Ireland and New Zealand share a long history of migration. Historians in New Zealand have carried out a substantial amount of research on earlier waves of Irish mobility, but contemporary patterns of movement in the twenty-first century are yet to be examined. Moreover, the gendered dimension of migration has often been obscured or neglected in Irish scholarship which tends to be male- centred. My thesis addresses these silences by adopting an oral history methodology that gives insights into migrant’s personal motives, experiences and reflections.
However, personal narratives do more than just illuminate migrants’ private experiences of migration. Oral histories also reveal how migration affects the migrant themselves, those they leave behind and those whom they come into contact with at their points of destination. I argue that migration is a continuing journey for the Irish women at the centre of my study. A second major finding is that- contrary to popular wisdom- the adaptation of Irish women to their new lives in Christchurch was relatively easy. Although there were important emotional milestones in each of their migration journeys, my participants made local connections and new networks of friends in a short period of time.