It’s always great when Te Tumu research gets disseminated to more public audiences. In the last few days, Erica Newman‘s research on the children of Māori who were adopted into non-Māori families has made it into the Otago Daily Times, and Kim Hill’s Saturday Morning programme on Radio New Zealand.
Click here for the ODT article, and on the bar below to listen to the RNZ mp3 file.
As you know Dr Erica Newman fronts a Marsden-funded research project, Journey Home: Descendants of Māori adoptees search for their tūrangawaewae. Read more about it here. She has recently been communicating with the Ministry of Justice as they begin to review the 1955 Adoption Act, providing her expert insight regarding the effect of this Act on the identity of Māori adoptees and their descendants, especially if they have not been able to connect to their taha Māori.
Erica writes, “New Zealand’s 1955 Adoption Law has had a detrimental affect on the identity of many adoptees and their descendants. This antiquated piece of legislation is now under review and this is our chance to have a say about what we think this new Act should look like, to a focus on the child rather than the adoptive and/or birth parents.
“For instance, this could be the repeal of the current Act altogether with the intention that a system be developed whereby a child’s identity is nurtured through continued connections with whānau and their history and culture, to allow the child to truly understand who they are through the knowledge of where they are from and where they belong. Or, alternatively, significant changes could be made to the current Act such as not renaming the child when adopted, not having a veto on records, a requirement to maintain whānau connections, and whāngai becoming legally recognised (under the recognition of the child’s hapū and iwi).
“If you have experienced the legal adoption system (personally or whānau members) this is an opportunity to have a say. The more narratives the Ministry of Justice has, the more informed they will be in making change.”
Below are links for more details, please note that submissions need to be in by 31 August 2021.
This has been a great year for Dr Erica Newman whose research project, Journey Home: Descendants of Māori adoptees search for their tūrangawaewae, has been awarded a $300,000 Marsden Grant over three years. This is wonderful news for Te Tumu, who now have three staff undertaking Marsden-funded research.
Summary: Māori adoptees who have no knowledge of their Māori heritage pass the unknown to their descendants. Focusing on these descendants, this project will explore; how they identify with their taha Māori, avenues they have taken to connect to their taha Māori, and how they are accepted by their whānau and hapū. I will follow participants on their journey of discovery and will examine hapū membership eligibility. Oral narratives will be the primary base for this project with published and unpublished sources used to support and highlight issues the participants encounter. This will begin a new area of research that will highlight the issues of transracial adoption on identity and well-being for descendants of Māori adoptees in Aotearoa New Zealand. [Advisor: Associate Professor Angela Wanhalla.]
Erica was also one of the award winners featured by the Royal Society Te Aparangi.
For the complete list of 2020 Marsden grant awards, click here.