The Italian family, motherhood and Italianness in New Zealand. The case of the Italian community of Wellington

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Recent studies of the Italian diaspora have examined the role of migrant families in constructing Italian identities. The mother’s role is normally that of reproducing and guarding Italian morality. Different scenarios are also possible, with mothers often questioning, resisting or revising the models imported from the homeland. Based on 50 interviews with members of the Italian community of Island Bay, Wellington, the article looks at how the Italian maternal archetype and the extended family have been translated to New Zealand. It focuses on themes which underscore the links between mothering practices and Italianness: food, family, women’s work, gender roles, raising sons and daughters, living-at-home children and intergenerational relations. These aspects are examined against ideals, ideologies, practices and policies current in Italy and New Zealand, to assess areas of departure from the Italian models, the influence of the host country and the impact of change on the community’s sense of Italianness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Issue number September–October
Early online date14 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2015



  • Wellington Italian community
  • Italian motherhood in New Zealand
  • Italian migrant mothers
  • Italian migrant family
  • Living-at-home children
  • Italian gender roles in New Zealand

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