Reform of adoption laws in Aotearoa New Zealand

Closed 7 Aug 2022

Opened 20 Jun 2022


The Government is reforming our adoption laws.

The aim of the reform is to create a new system that protects the rights, best interests and welfare of children, upholds our Tiriti o Waitangi obligations, and upholds our international human rights obligations. We want to put tamariki, our children, at the heart of our adoption laws.

We’re holding a second round of engagement between June and August 2022 to seek people’s views on the options for reform. Your thoughts and ideas will play an important part in helping to get our adoption laws right – please share them with us. You can find more information about how to have your say and read the discussion document A new adoption system for Aotearoa New Zealand at:

Adoption law reform: Options for creating a new system

We will use the feedback received during this round of engagement to inform the development of final policy proposals for adoption law reform.

Last year, we heard people’s experiences of, and views on, adoption in New Zealand. Most people agreed that the Adoption Act 1955, which is now 67 years old, is out of date and needs to change. Feedback also indicated that adoption laws should be centred on the best interests of the child, including their right to identity and to maintain family connections, and to access information and support. You can find information about last year’s round of engagement, including the discussion document Adoption in Aotearoa New Zealand here.

How to give feedback

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 whānau.

Alternatively, you can:

           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, 7 August 2022. Submissions received after the closing date will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What happens to your feedback?

We’ll use the feedback received during this round of engagement to inform the development of final policy proposals for adoption law reform. This may include refining, changing or adding to the options set out in the discussion document.

Your survey responses will be anonymised and treated in confidence. No names of individuals will be identified.

We may need to release your feedback under the Official Information Act

We may need to release your feedback after an Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) request. We can withhold personal details under the OIA, including your name and address.

If you do not want us to release any information in your feedback, please state this clearly in your submission or cover letter and explain why. For example, some information may be commercially sensitive or personal. We’ll take your views into account when we respond to OIA requests.

You can access and correct your personal information

The Privacy Act 2020 governs how we collect and use your personal information. You have the right to access and correct your personal information.

Supporting information

Read the Discussion Document - English

View the Discussion Document Diagrams - English

Read the Discussion Document - Te Rēo Māori

View the Discussion Document Diagrams - Te Rēo Māori

Read the Discussion Document - Gagana Sāmoa

View the Discussion Document Diagrams - Gagana Sāmoa

Read the Discussion Document - Lea Faka-Tonga

View the Discussion Document Diagrams - Lea Faka-Tonga

Read the Discussion Document - Traditional Chinese

View the Discussion Document Diagrams - Traditional Chinese

Read the Discussion Document - Simplified Chinese

View the Discussion Document Diagrams - Simplified Chinese

Translated versions of the diagrams in the discussion document will also be available shortly. The diagrams provide an overview of the options for change we’re considering for a new adoption system, and how the child, birth parents and adoptive parents may move through this system.

Read the Summary Document

Read the Summary Document – Large Print (available shortly)

Listen to the Summary Document (available shortly)

Video of the Summary Document with New Zealand Sign Language (available from early July)

Easy Read of the Summary Document (available from early July)

A Braille version of the Summary Document is available upon request. Please email for a braille copy.


As part of this work, the Government also wants to hear from Māori about whether there need to be changes to the way the law treats whāngai and, if so, what the process for making those changes should look like.

Pou Tikanga are partnering with Ināia Tonu Nei to host a one-day, Māori-led wānanga specifically on whāngai on Wednesday 10 August, at Wharewaka o Poneke, Wellington.

It is an opportunity for Māori to kōrero about whether there is a need to change the way whāngai is treated in law and, if so, share their views on what the process for making any changes should be.

You can register your interest for the wānanga at


Options relating to surrogacy are not included in the Discussion Document. Te Aka Matua o te Ture | the Law Commission recently completed its review of surrogacy laws. In its report, Te Kōpū Whāngai: He Arotake | Review of Surrogacy, the Law Commission has recommended creating new processes for establishing legal parenthood in surrogacy arrangements. The Government will be considering the Law Commission’s recommendations for reforming surrogacy laws separately.

What happens next

We’ll use your feedback to help advise the Government on how our adoption laws should be reformed.

Your survey responses will be anonymised. No names of individuals will be identified.


  • Young people
  • Disabled people
  • General public
  • Non-Government Organisations


  • Stakeholder / partner engagement
  • Feedback
  • Surveys and consultations
  • Adoption Law Reform