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Family Focus of new Research Centre

The health and well being of New Zealand's families is to be the key focus of the Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families – the latest applied research centre to be launched at Victoria University.
The Centre will be launched by the Minister of Social Services and Employment, the Hon Steve Maharey, on Wednesday (February 20), and has been named after Sir Roy McKenzie, a former chairman of the JR McKenzie Trust, who established the McKenzie Education Foundation and the Roy McKenzie Foundation.
Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said the Centre was being established because there was a need for quality, objective research on families in New Zealand.
"The traditional nuclear family – mum, dad and two kids – has often been described as the foundation of society. But families are changing as society changes. For example, many couples are no longer getting married, or delaying marriage until long after their children are born. But while there has been a lot of anecdotal talk about the 'family,' there hasn't been a lot of New Zealand-based evidence to back up the rhetoric.
"That's where the Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families comes in. Working with an interdisciplinary group of scholars from throughout the University and with other researchers both here and overseas, the Centre will provide high quality independent research and information on New Zealand families.
"That research will not only aid policymakers and professionals working in this area but will also educate the community and help to improve the lot of stressed families such as those going through separation and divorce, and immigrant families facing difficulties adapting to New Zealand."
Professor McCutcheon thanked Sir Roy for his support of the Centre. "The organisations he is involved with are renowned for their innovative and down-to-earth approach to supporting community endeavour and with the Centre having a similar aim, it is very appropriate it be named in honour of Sir Roy."
The Centre will undertake research on a wide variety of family-based issues including family well-being and resilience, changes in family structures from births, deaths, separations and the creation of stepfamilies. It will also examine conflict in families, children's perceptions of families, marriage and cohabitation and parenting. It aims to undertake research for both government and non-governmental organisations, including the Ministry of Social Development and the soon-to-be-established Families Commission.
The Centre is the third applied research centre to be launched following the establishment of the New Zealand Institute for Research on Ageing and the Crime and Justice Research Centre last year.
Media are invited to the launch on February 20 at 5.30pm in the Hunter Council Chamber, Victoria University, Kelburn Parade, Wellington.
Issued by Victoria University of Wellington Public Affairs
For further information please contact Antony.Paltridge@vuw.ac.nz or phone +64-4-463-5873 or 029 463 5873

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