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No. 10 (April 1955)
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ABOUT ADOPTIONS
NEW LEGISLATION PROPOSED

Teta tetahi kaupapa ture whaitikanga nui, ka pa tahi ki te Pakeha me te Maori, he mea hora ki te aroaro o te kahui ariki o te whare Paremata e noho nei, engari kihai i whakaotia. Ko te Pire tenei mote tamaiti whangai, a, ko te whakaaro i Pera me te ahuatanga mo te Pire mo nga Mea Maori, kia whaiwahi ai te hunga e rapu ana i enei mea, ki te hurihuri ki te whakapuaki ranei i o ratou whakaaro mo aua mea i mua o te whakaotinga hei ture.

E pa ana te Pire nei ki te ahuatanga mo nga tamariki-whangai katoa o Niu Tireni.

E whakarerek; ana hoki i etahi wahanga nunui tonu o te ture, a, ka pa, a ka whaitikanga ki te iwi Maori.

Tuatahi, e ki ana te Pire, ko te tamaiti, ahakoa Maori Pakeha ranei, ka ahei hei tamaiti-whangai ma te tangata, ahakoa Maori, ahakoa kore-Maori ranei. Inaianei hoki, kaore te Maori e whakaetia ki te tamaiti-whangai mehemea chara te tamaiti i te Maori i te uri ranei o te Maori. Ma te Pire nei ka ahei te Maori, ina pirangi ki te whangai tamaiti a te Pakeha, a etahi atu iwi ranei, pera me nga iwi o nga moutere penei me te Rarotonga.

Mehemea nga kai-tono, tetahi ranei o aua kai-tono he Maori, ka riro ma te Kooti Whenua Maori e whakahaere te tono mo te tamaitiwhangai. I etahi katoa atu o nga keehi a mau nei te ture inaianei ka tukuna te tono ki te Kooti a te Kai-whakawa Tuturu.

Ko te hunga anake kaore ano kia eke nga tau ki te rua tekau ma tahi nga mea ka whakaetia hei tamariki-whangai (inaianei he tekau ma rima tau ki te Kooti Whenua Maori). Ko nga kai-tono mo tetahi ota, ko tetahi ranei o raua, me matua nuku atu i te rua tekau ma rima nga tau, a, me rua tekau ma tahi tau ranei te pakeketanga atu i te tamaiti-whangai, na me rua tekau ma tahi tau ranei engari me

(Kei te wharangi 43 te toonga atu)

Important draft legislation affecting both Maoris and Pakehas was introduced to Parliament during yast year's session, but not proceeded with. This was the Adoption Bill, introduced to give anyone interested an opportunity to consider and comment on the proposals before enactment is sought.

The Bill applies to all adoptions of children in New Zealand. It proposes some important changes in the law, which will affect and be of interest to Maoris.

First, the Bill provides that any child, whether a Maori or not, can be adopted by any person, whether a Maori or not. At present a Maori cannot adopt any child other than Maori or descendant of a Maori. This will enable Maoris who so desire to adopt Europeans or children of other races, in particular Polynesian races such as Rarotongans.

Where the applicants or one of the applicants is a Maori, an application for an adoption order is to be heard by the Maori Land Court. In all other cases, as at present, the application will be heard in the Magistrate's Court.

Only persons under twenty-one may be adopted. (At present the limit in the Maori Land Court is fifteen years). The applicants for an order, or one of them, must be over twenty-five years old, and twenty-one years older than the child: or be over twenty-one and be a relative of the child: or be the father or mother of the child. An adoption order will be made in favour of two people only if they are married to each other. A male cannot by himself adopt a female child unless the court is satisfied that he is her father, or that there are exceptional circumstances.

On the lodging of an application for adoption, a report has to be made to the Court by the Child Welfare Officer (in the case of

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the Maori Land Court by a Maori Welfare Officer.)

The application is not to be heard in open court as has been the case in the Maori Land Court, but in private.

Normally the court will first make an interim order which will be made final after a specified period; but it may dispense with an interim order if special circumstances warrant.

The Bill makes it unlawful for any person to give or receive any reward in consideration of an adoption or the arranging of an adoption.

Apart from these points, the requirements are substantially the same as at present. The effect of an adoption order is still to put the child for practically all purposes (including intestate succession) in the same position as if it were the child legally born in wedlock of the adopting parents, and had no connection with the natural parents. A European does not, however, by being adopted by Maoris, become a Maori, since an order does not affect race, nationality or citizenship.

Copies of the Adoption Bill have been circulated to District Welfare Officers and are held in District Offices of the Department of Maori Affairs. They may be purchased from the Government Printing Office, Wellington.

Picture icon

Maori Land Court minute books are being microfilmed at the National Publicity Studios by staff photographer Tom Ransfield, a member of the Raukawn tribe. Mr Ransfield is working at present with the Soil Conservation Council as a photographer. (n.p.s. photograph)