There is a theme of independence running through some

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There is a theme of independence running through some of the dominant New Zealand European cultural archetypes, and this can carry over into attitudes towards the family. Young New Zealanders are keen to leave the family, to make their own way, often starting with a period of ‘OE’ (overseas experience). It is uncommon for adults (whether single or married) to share their home with older generations. Around 70% of households consist of ‘one family’, defined as “a husband and/or wife with or without unmarried children of any age who are living at home” (Department of Statistics, 1990, p. 163). One-person households are the next largest group, comprising almost 20% of households. State support (in the form of universal superannuation, unemployment benefits, payments to single mothers, study allowances, sickness benefits and the like) reduces the financial obligation on other family members to support relatives. There may also be a historical pattern, with those immigrants willing to come to New Zealand being the ones who were more prepared to sever family ties with relatives left behind. In a critical commentary on the insular nature of many New Zealand families, Gordon McLauchlan commented: "The family is a fragment, and ephemeral. There are few secure traditional extensions to the nuclear group, either sideways to brothers, sisters, cousins or through marriage to in-laws; and there are no extensions vertically to those who have gone before and who will come after; so that we have no identity in place or time" (1976, p.40). The marked increase in emphasis on Family Collectivism reflected in the "Should Be" scores seems to reflect a strong desire to gain a sense of family connectedness. This desire may also be underlying the trend towards greater acceptance and introduction of ‘family friendly’ workplace policies (Rotherham, 1998).
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