Eagle wants rewrite of adoption law

Ex Wellington councillor has been elected to take over Annette King’s Rongotai electorate. He wants a rewrite of adoption laws to make it easier for adoptees to find their birth parents.

He talked about this in his maiden speech in Parliament.

In 1973, the late Norman Kirk and the then Labour Government introduced the domestic purposes benefit. But your dad was born in 1972—a year earlier—which meant that when my birth mother found out she was pregnant with a child she could not afford to care for, to a man who couldn’t care for her, she had to let me go.

And, sadly, there was no State support or sympathy for solo parents back then. My birth mother had already been judged for her actions, but she wanted more for me than she could give: a safe home, a warm bed, good clothes, and a full tummy—I think I got that last one.

But it wasn’t possible at the time, so the difficult decision was made to give me up for adoption—a decision that changed our lives forever. It would be more than 20 years before I’d see my birth parents again. My birth mother told me of her sadness and how she missed me and worried about how I was doing. At shopping malls, she would look at each little Māori boy and wonder if it were me.

But over 45 years later, it’s still nice to know that she wanted me and would have kept me if she could. But it’s even more rewarding to know that because of Kirk and a Labour Government thousands of mums and their babies got the support they needed to stay together. And that’s even if your dad wasn’t one of them.

I don’t like to think that my birth mother gave me up. It sounds as if she gave up on me; when what she did was give me a loving family, a happy childhood, the best shot at life a boy could ask for, and a place where your dad truly belonged.

I understand this more than ever, son, because when we adopted you, your dad realised how hard the decision for our birth mothers must have been, because to decide to let go of a child is the most selfless act any person can do.

Eagle also discussed his aims on The Hui (video): From adoption to MP: How Paul Eagle plans to rewrite the law

Eagle’s Labour website profile:

The son of a Methodist Minister and hospital worker, Paul is committed to serving others, particularly the people of Wellington’s eastern and southern suburbs, where he grew up in the 1980s.

From his parents’ involvement in the Labour Party, Paul learned the importance of helping others and getting involved in political action.

In his previous role as Deputy Mayor of Wellington, Paul led the Council’s Housing portfolio – the single biggest issue for Wellingtonians.

An Island Bay resident, Paul was educated at Evans Bay Intermediate School, St. Patrick’s College Wellington and has postgraduate qualifications from the Elam School of Fine Arts. He is married to Miriam and has one child, Tama.

You’ll also see Paul proudly out supporting the Hurricanes, Phoenix and Pulse during his spare time.



  1. Traveller

     /  November 20, 2017

    Good on him I guess. However, I think that new MPs would Di well to sit, listen and nod for a while.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  November 20, 2017

      Yes. I totally agree. I don’t know if I have just forgotten, but I don’t remember other maiden speeches being so full of personal information and demands for law changes because of this. Wait until you have been there for a while.

      One case is not enough to justify a law change-and, as far as I know, there have been changes in this(adoption) respect, anyway.

      What if a married woman did not tell her husband about the baby that she had as a teenager, and put the whole thing behind her as far as anyone ever could ? Suddenly this adult appears, saying that they are that baby and all the traumas of the pregnancy and birth and keeping it secret are reopened…the mother deserves to have her wishes respected.

      Anyone who has been left to look after herself in this situation may well not want to have to go over the awfulness of this again.

  1. Eagle wants rewrite of adoption law — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition