The Social Construction of Cross-Cultural Couple Relationships in New Zealand


  • Gabriele Schäfer



intimate cross cultural couple relationships


The research explores cross-cultural intimate couple relationships in New Zealand. The study focuses on the dynamics in cross-cultural intimate relationships between Maori and Pakeha. The intercultural as well as interdisciplinary nature of the research informed my decision to apply several research methodologies including participant observation techniques and in-depth interviews with thirty-eight participants. Finding indicate that the majority of participants perceived that cross- cultural relationships are challenging and complex. Different conflict styles, communication patterns, racism, values about privacy, hospitality and ideas about family life and parenting are seen as constant sources of difficulty and conflict. On the other hand, findings also indicate that participants found cross-cultural relationships rewarding. the opportunity for exploring new ideas and values, the exciting 'otherness' of the partner and curiosity about different lifestyles has been identified as the strengths of bicultural relationships.


How to Cite

Schäfer, G. (2008). The Social Construction of Cross-Cultural Couple Relationships in New Zealand. Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, 4(2), 83–116.