Chinese migrants’ experiences of responding to gambling harm in New Zealand


  • Wenli Zhang PhD candidate, Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Auckland
  • Christa Fouché Professor, Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Auckland.
  • Peter James Adams Professor, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland.



phenomenology, gambling treatment approaches, gambling harm, Chinese migrants, Chinese culture


INTRODUCTION: Forming a problematic relationship with gambling has major consequences for gamblers, families, communities, and society. As the third-largest ethnic group in New Zealand, the Chinese community in particular faces increasing challenges with casino gambling. This paper reports on Chinese migrants’ lived experience of their challenges and needs in responding to gambling harm.

METHODS:  Sixteen recent migrants (both gamblers and affected family members) from eight families were interviewed. Data analysis comprised a comprehensive thematic approach involving multiple readings of interview transcripts and an iterative development of themes, guided by hermeneutic phenomenological methods.

FINDINGS: Participants shared their experiences of pathways into gambling and ways to respond to gambling harm. The key findings are presented as four stages, which can be conceptualised as misconnecting, disconnecting, reconnecting, and rebuilding natural life.

CONCLUSION: This article presents qualitative evidence of Chinese migrants in New Zealand’s experiences with excessive gambling and considerations for service providers and policymakers when developing programmes and policies for preventing and minimising gambling harm for this population.

Author Biographies

Wenli Zhang, PhD candidate, Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Auckland

Dr Wenli Zhang conducted this research when she was a PhD candidate at the faculty of Education and Social work, University of Auckland, New Zealand. She gained her Master in Education (counselling) from the University. She worked as a social worker, counsellor, and health promoter in New Zealand for almost two decades. Her areas of interest include new migrant settlement, women’s wellbeing, mental health, peer support, and minimising gambling harm for gamblers, affected family members, communities, and society.

Christa Fouché, Professor, Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Auckland.

Christa Fouché is a Professor of Social Work in the Faculty of Education and Social work, University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is a leading researcher in two inter-related fields: models of practitioner research in professional disciplines and in health and social care workforce development. As an applied researcher, she has significant experience with designing and implementing interdisciplinary and culturally diverse community-based projects and has supervised many postgraduate practice-based student projects to completion. Christa supervised Dr Zhang’s project on which this article is based.

Peter James Adams, Professor, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland.

Peter Adams has a background in philosophy and clinical psychology. He has extensive experience in research and teaching on addictions in areas such as public health approaches to gambling. He has published seven sole-authored books, three with high relevance to gambling research and services: Gambling, Freedom and Democracy (NY: Routledge, 2007), Fragmented Intimacy: Addiction in a Social World (NY: Springer, 2008) and Moral Jeopardy: Risks of Accepting Money from the Tobacco, Alcohol and Gambling Industries (Cambridge UP, 2016). He is employed as a professor in population health at the University of Auckland. Peter supervised Dr Zhang’s PhD project.


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How to Cite

Zhang, W., Fouché, C., & Adams, P. J. (2022). Chinese migrants’ experiences of responding to gambling harm in New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 34(2), 16–29.



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