We are different and the same: exploring Hellenic culture and identity in Aotearoa-New Zealand

Athena Helena Maria Gavriel



The worldwide rise in migration as a result of factors such as political unrest, and an expanding globalized economy and workforce, has directed research towards understanding what enables people to settle well into other societies, which often assume or expect their eventual absorption into dominant cultures. An in-depth interpretive study of culture, identity and well-being amongst New Zealand-born and migrant Hellenes from Greece, Cyprus and their diaspora explored diasporic Hellenes’ international reputation for retaining relatively strong ethnic groups and identities (Gavriel 2004). This example of a small Hellenic community existing in another culturally dominant society reveals rationale and detail behind this phenomenon, discussing the matrix of factors and variables identified to affect ways these migrants create and maintain their culture and identity. It demonstrates the multidimensional, fluid nature of cultural identity and its impact on people’s well-being in their daily encounters, negotiating similar and diverse cultures and worldviews, challenging assumptions about dilution of culture and identity on resettlement.

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