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ABSTRACT. It is acknowledged that New Zealand society has become home to an increasingly diverse range of ethnic and cultural identities. Globalization has resulted in growing diaspora communities created through immigration and refugee resettlement practices. There is a growing body of research examining the integration process of refugee students into New Zealand schools. Whilst the Ministry of Education has developed educational guidelines to assist schools with the resettlement process, the implementation of these is of a varying standard (Strauss & Smedley, 2009). Challenges continue to exist for migrants and refugees in accessing education that is responsive to their ethnic and cultural identities and the contexts of their lives (Mitchell & Ouko, 2012). However, an overriding theme that has emerged from the research is the importance the individual students’ personal narrative has in contributing to a successful transition. This paper will therefore discuss both the individual and wider educational benefits to be gained from having a greater understanding of refugee student’s cultural and individual identity in the context of their ‘life story’. pp. 47–62

Keywords: refugee; cultural identity; personal identity; narrative; life-story; New Zealand; education

WENDY CALDER
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University of Waikato

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