Researcher Examines High Rate Of Fertility Among Tongan Women In New Zealand

Cultural and religious expectations, misunderstandings limit use of contraception 

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 28, 2016) – A Tongan health researcher has completed a study exploring why the fertility rate of Tongan women remains high in New Zealand despite the country's total fertility rate falling below replacement level.

Pauline Fakalata did a anonymous survey, and face to face interviews with different groups of Tongan women in Auckland to explore existing attitudes towards the use of contraceptives in their community.

Despite the high fertility rate of Tongan women in New Zealand Ms Fakalata said the majority of those surveyed wanted to use birth control but were not actively doing so.

She said cultural expectations, religious beliefs and misconceptions about contraceptives were among the reasons why many women were not using them.

"Women felt under pressure because of these expectations and there was hardly anybody that considered their health first. It was always about, the priority was always about the collective," she said.

Radio New Zealand International
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