Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Geography and Sustainable Communities


Food is central to the global challenge of sustainability and households are positioned as key sites of sustainable action by policymakers in many western neoliberal nations. Thus, ‘household sustainability’ in the Minority World has become the subject of increasing interest in the academic literature. Largely absent from this research are Majority World migrants from diverse ethnic backgrounds who live in the Minority World. The thesis asks, what can we learn from ethnically diverse communities if they are included in debates about household sustainability? To address this question, the empirical focus of the thesis is the everyday food activities of 12 Papua New Guinean (PNG) migrants in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. I employed a talanoa-inspired research approach based upon Pasifika values and worldviews centred upon human relationships in response to decolonising methodologies. Consequently, the research design employed in-depth interviews, participant photography, and kitchen tours alongside a research diary. An interpretation of these migrants’ everyday food practices is offered by bringing into concert post-structural feminism with Deleuze and Guattari’s geophilosophy. Across three analytical chapters I seek to highlight how everyday food practices help to (co/re)constitute different places, subjectivities and temporalities and the implications that these have for household food sustainability. First, I illustrate through the concept of the food provisioning assemblage how the normalised refrains in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand that sustain family and home render more sustainable food practices, that are common in PNG, impossible post-migration. Second, the lens of the food preservation assemblage highlights how post-migration preservation practices are adapted to accommodate new subjectivities aligned with the refrigerator rather than with meat smoking. Third, the disposal assemblage brings into focus the different socio-material arrangements and rhythms that comprise home and facilitate specific conduits of disposal. The thesis illustrates how, when household food sustainability is conceived as a relational achievement, transitioning practices of provisioning, preserving and disposing are always contingent upon the socio-material arrangements through which people achieve a sense of themselves and home.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.