Background: For many Pacific youth in New Zealand, discussing sexual health topics with their parents or families remains a highly sensitive subject that is uncomfortable and culturally challenging. These conversations are even more difficult for young Pacific females who are expected to show modest and virtuous behaviours. The aim of this paper is to describe the role of mothers and sisters in conveying sexual and reproductive health information among young Niue women born in New Zealand.
Methods: Twenty Niue young women took part in semi-structured qualitative interviews. The young women needed to be of Niue descent, born in New Zealand, living in Auckland and aged between 16-24 years.
Findings: This study highlighted the influential role of mothers – both Island born, and New Zealand born – within the home, with mothers identified as being more likely to be involved raising and educating daughters around sexual health. The young women firmly believed mothers were their first teachers and were better placed to lead such sensitive discussions. Interestingly, the findings also drew attention to the role of sisters in the dissemination and search for sexual health information, with many of the participants reporting sisters as important positive influences.
Conclusion: This research provides important findings on the role of Niue women – both mothers and sisters – who have been identified as a key source and educator of sexual health information. These findings have significant relevance for Niue women and the potential for intergenerational discussions to take place, ensuring young Niue females are informed with adequate information and advice to make informed sexual health decisions.