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Recommended reading Developing a sense of cultural identity Stages: Multiple

Who are we? 

SKIP community champion Latu To’omaga is Samoan, and the mother of his children is palagi.  Watch this short YouTube videoOpens in new window where Latu talks to the Parenting Resource’s Vicky Ellison about how his tamaiti are developing a sense of their cultural identity. 

In the video, Latu highlights how important it is to expose children to both parents’ cultures.  He even asked a friend of his whose parents are also of different ethnicities to help him have a conversation with his children.  This is a good idea to remember.  Asking a friend for moral support when you want to discuss something with kids can be very helpful, especially when they have first-hand experiences they can share.

The important messages to the kids:

  • You’re loved by both mum and dad
  • You belong in both cultures
  • Different is awesome
  • We’re all unique

Teach me about our family

A very important message found on the SKIP baby frieze is ‘Teach me about my family’

The related session noteOpens in new window reinforces the importance of talking with children about their whānau.  This helps tamaiti increase their sense of belonging and keeps family memories alive.

There are many things families can do to strengthen bonds and build cultural identity. 

For example:

  • valuing family treasures and photos
  • sharing songs and dance
  • making sure our tamaiti feel connected to their heritage

Share stories

Everyone loves family stories.  Stories help build memories and cultural identity, and help us know who we are and where we belong. They can be as formal or informal as you like. Sometimes things you never thought would qualify as a story can turn into one!

You may hear tamaiti say “Tell me about when I first met grandpa” - not because it’s a normal thing for every child to ask, but because that story has been told before and the child wants to hear it again.  Remember that repetition is an important aspect of learning.

Every family has its stories; for example:

  • The day you were born
  • How our family came to Aotearoa New Zealand
  • What was it like when our family first came here?
  • When grandma went to school
  • What’s it like in our family’s village?




Tips for Whānau supporters

For more information, please visit the Whānau Supporters page.