Adoption Law Reform: Public submissions are now closed

The Government is reviewing our adoption laws to make sure they meet the needs of Aotearoa New Zealand in 2021 and beyond. 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.

On 18 June 2021, the Government asked the public about their views on our adoption laws. A Discussion Document was released covering six key issue areas, including what adoption is 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.

That public consultation closed on 31 August. More than 250 submissions were received, which are helping to shape the Government’s proposals for change.

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.

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

Information about the adoption law reform

Even though public submissions on the law reform process and the online survey based on the Discussion Document have now closed, 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. 

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.

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)

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]