Adoption Law Reform

Have your say on the review of adoption laws in Aotearoa New Zealand

We want to hear from you about our adoption laws in Aotearoa New Zealand. Your thoughts and ideas will play an important part in helping to get our adoption laws right – please share them with us.

We need our adoption laws to reflect the values and needs of Aotearoa New Zealand today. The aim of the review is to create a new system that provides strong safeguards for protecting the rights, best interests and welfare of children, and upholds our international human rights obligations. We need to make sure we’re putting our tamariki, our children, at the heart of our adoption laws.

The Government is reviewing our adoption laws to make sure they meet the needs of Aotearoa New Zealand in 2021 and beyond. This includes ensuring our adoption laws reflect the multicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Discussion document: Adoption in Aotearoa NZ [PDF, 696 KB]

The Discussion Document covers six key issue areas that we would like to hear your views on, including what is adoption and who is involved, cultural aspects of adoption (including whāngai), how the adoption process works in Aotearoa New Zealand, the impacts of adoption and the adoption process where a child is born by surrogacy.

You can have your say by reviewing the Discussion Document and answering the questions in the online survey that are relevant to you and your whanau. Further details are available on Citizen Space and can be accessed here:

Public consultation on Citizen Space: Review of adoption laws in Aotearoa New Zealand(external link)

Alternatively, you can:

  • Email your feedback to: adoptionlaw@justice.govt.nz
    (this can be written or in a video format)
  • Post your feedback to:
    Adoption Law Reform
    Ministry of Justice
    Free Post 113
    PO Box 180
    Wellington 6140

The closing date for submissions and completed online surveys is 5pm, 31 August 2021. Submissions received after the closing date will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

A second round of consultation will be undertaken in mid-2022 to report back on feedback and seek the public’s views on the Government’s proposals for reform.

Supporting information

You can find out more about current adoption laws from our Discussion and Summary Documents. The Summary Document is translated into seven languages and accessible formats, including Easy Read (available soon).

This information describes existing arrangements and views that have been expressed on the topic in the past.

Read the Discussion Document – English [PDF, 696 KB]

Read the Summary Document – English [PDF, 325 KB]

Read the Summary Document – Te Rēo Māori [PDF, 322 KB]

Read the Summary Document – Large Print [PDF, 422 KB]

An audio version of the Summary Document [MP3, 15 MB]

Easy Read version of the Summary Document [PDF, 3.6 MB]

Easy Read version of the Summary Document [DOCX, 11 MB]

About Easy Read

Easy Read information uses words and pictures to present information in a way that is easier to understand. 

Easy Read information has been developed to support people with learning disabilities better understand written information.

People who find Easy Read information useful include some people who: 

  • have a learning disability 
  • have low literacy levels 
  • use English as a second language 
  • are elderly 
  • are deaf.

This is an Easy Read translation of the summary document. It covers some of the main issues in the summary document, but not all of them.

Braille version of the Summary Document is available upon request. Please email adoptionlaw@justice.govt.nz for a braille copy.

New Zealand Sign Language video series about adoption 

View the full adoption video NZSL series on YouTube(external link)

Summary Document translated into other languages

Read the Summary Document – Gagana Sāmoa [PDF, 322 KB]

Read the Summary Document – Lea Faka-Tonga [PDF, 332 KB]

Read the Summary Document – Traditional Chinese [PDF, 583 KB]

Read the Summary Document– Simplified Chinese [PDF, 445 KB]

Read the Summary Document – Korean [PDF, 551 KB]

Read the Summary Document – Hindi [PDF, 391 KB]

Current state of New Zealand's adoption laws

New Zealand’s adoption laws sit across three pieces of legislation:

Surrogacy Law Review

Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission is currently undertaking a review of surrogacy in Aotearoa New Zealand. As part of this review, the Commission will look at how the adoption process operates in surrogacy arrangements and consider whether there should be a different process for intending parents to become legal parents.

You can read more about the surrogacy review and sign up to receive updates at:

Te Kōpū Whāngai: He Arotake | Review of Surrogacy(external link)

Get in touch: Email adoptionlaw@justice.govt.nz

Related links

Proactive release - Government response to the Social Services and Community Committee report on matters related to forced adoptions [PDF, 2.4 MB]

Proactive release - Interim Regulatory Impact Statement: Consultation options for adoption law reform [PDF, 857 KB]