The Government has announced a review of the current adoption laws as they no longer meet society’s values and opinions on modern family structures, discrimination, the practices of other cultures, and the interests of children.

The review focuses on six key areas of adoption law. The Government is currently consulting the public on the issues that follow and is asking for feedback on the current adoption laws and suggestions for change. The closing date for submissions is 31 August 2021.

The six key areas where changes are being proposed include:

  • Defining what adoption is and when it can be used;
  • Making changes to the parties involved in adoptions by changing the eligibility criteria of who can be adopted and who can adopt and increasing birth parent’s and children’s involvement in the process;
  • Increasing the recognition of different cultures in the adoption process and reconsidering whether whāngai (Maori customary adoptions) and customary adoptions should be recognised under adoption laws;
  • Making changes to the overseas adoption process and the domestic adoption process, particularly in relation to consent and suitability to adopt, and the court process so adoption is less costly;
  • Increasing the support and information that is available throughout the adoption process and after the adoption has occurred, as well as potentially changing birth certificates in relation to adoption to acknowledge both birth and adoptive parents; and
  • Making changes to adoption in relation to surrogacy.


Once the public’s feedback on these issues has been submitted, the Government will consider the submissions and begin another consultation in 2022. We will keep an eye out for any further developments and keep you updated on this review.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team of family law specialists who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.


Please note that Rainey Collins is not contracted to provide Legal Aid, other than in the Treaty of Waitangi area.  We therefore are unable to take on any Civil or Family Legal Aid work. If you require Legal Aid in those areas, you can search the list of Legal Aid lawyers on the Ministry of Justice website.