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.