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Everyone has a cultural identity. Knowing where you come from can give you a sense of belonging and a sense of self.
Culture is all the things that make up a certain way of life or living. That includes all the beliefs and values, language, customs, style of dress, food, song, and stories that belong to a group of people. A person's cultural identity comes from the way they take certain aspects of each of the cultures they belong to and use them to shape and define who they are.
Some young people might find it hard to make sense of their cultural identity. They might have a mixed background or be living in a society where the main culture is different to their own. They might feel for a while like they don’t fit in anywhere and might resent or reject certain parts of their cultures in an effort to feel more accepted by others.
For some people, culture is more about the families you create rather than your birth heritage. This could mean a local club, community group or sports team.
If a young person doesn’t really know where they fit in, see if you can help them find a space where they belong. Support them to feel comfortable in their own skin and proud of their heritage and cultural identity.
Young people are often looking for their place in the world and might feel a little bit lost at times. They might feel like an outsider or feel pressure to prove the stereotypes about their cultural group wrong. Keep an eye out for them:
In New Zealand, most people have a range of different cultures in their backgrounds and it’s common for young people to identify with more than one.
This factsheet is about how to learn more about your cultural identity, especially if you're feeling like you don't belong.
The Kōrero Māori website has been developed by Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori – the Māori Language Commission – in order to raise awareness about the Māori language by increasing opportunities for people to learn and use it.
Tips for young Pasifika people in New Zealand to nurture and celebrate their cultural identity.
Australian website Kidshelp provides information and support for Australian kids, teens, and parents. This factsheet talks about “Cross Cultural Differences and Respecting Others”.