Dr Trudie Cain

Research manager for Nga Tangata Oho Mairangi

A quarter of New Zealand’s residents are migrants and this figure is rapidly increasing every year – so the government needs to plan ahead. That’s where Dr Trudie Cain comes in.

Trudie’s job is to investigate how communities negotiate the social changes and possible tensions that arise when migrants move to an area, exploring issues like job security, cultural and societal values, and how best to create social cohesion between New Zealand-born citizens and migrants.

Her work is part of a government-funded project called Nga Tangata Oho Mairangi, which will map the regional impacts of demographic and economic change in New Zealand now and in the future.

 

She’s working closely with Massey’s Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley to predict what New Zealand will be like in 2036 so the government can plan for it.

Born in the UK, Trudie moved to New Zealand when she was 16. She worked as a hairdresser for ten years but opted for a career change when she was 30.

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The stories of our culture

She initially enrolled in Massey’s Bachelor of Social Work and took a sociology paper as part of the degree. After attending a few of the sociology classes she was hooked and decided to change degrees. She picked up a Bachelor of Arts majoring in sociology and psychology and has never looked back. “Sociology transformed how I thought about my own…

She initially enrolled in Massey’s Bachelor of Social Work and took a sociology paper as part of the degree. After attending a few of the sociology classes she was hooked and decided to change degrees. She picked up a Bachelor of Arts majoring in sociology and psychology and has never looked back.

“Sociology transformed how I thought about my own place in the world as a woman, as a wife and as a mother. And it challenged my way of thinking about society as a whole.”

She then went on to complete her PhD in sociology on the everyday clothing practices of larger women.

But she says that in many ways her work today isn’t much different from her time in hairdressing. “You find out about people, you listen to people’s stories, you learn what is important to them in their everyday lives. The difference now is that I’m more systematic in how I find out that information and more considered in thinking about how those stories are located in broader social processes.”

Find out more about sociology.