Why Family Memories and Stories Matter
Comparatively little is known about the content and form of family memory among Pākehā (New Zealanders of European descent) in contrast to the centrality of whakapapa/genealogy in mātauranga Māori. To address this lacuna, the Marsden-funded research project “The Missing Link” recorded oral history interviews with sixty multigenerational families descended from European migrants who arrived in New Zealand before 1914. We asked our participants what they knew about their family past, the stories that had been passed down, and why particular ancestors interested them. The analysis of these oral history interviews is in progress. This article focuses on the decision to employ a mixed methods research methodology, including an analytical conceptual framework drawn from memory studies, and draws some preliminary conclusions regarding the Pākehā family as a mnemonic community.
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