Welcome to Birthright NZ

Birthright believes that all children have the right to a happy, secure and loving home environment. 

We understand the diversity of whanau in our communities. We specialise in working with families led by one person. We believe children have a "birthright'' to the same opportunities regardless of their family circumstances.

Through our work we help create nurtured, resilient and inspired children, and families, by walking alongside the whole family to facilitate the growth of confidence, enhance living skills and a sense of independence and self-help within the family unit. 

BR logo Hastings 1983-206

Did you know that Birthright has been helping families in New Zealand for 60 years?

A lot has changed over that time, but Birthright’s commitment to ensuring children’s rights to a happy, secure and loving home environment has remained the same. Not only were we the first organisation of its kind in New Zealand, we were also the first in the world. Read more about our journey below.


Twenty years on - Birthright in the 1980s

In his 1964 annual report, the President of Birthright Auckland had remarked: ‘It is a matter of increasing wonderment to us all that in a community and a welfare state such as ours there should be so many who need help” – twenty years later the same message applied.

One parent families were hit hard when, between April 1986 and April 1991, the Government introduced another major set of benefit reforms, reducing the real benefit rate for a sole parent with one child by 24% - and bringing it back to the level it was in the early 1960s.

During this era, a typical Birthright family was described as:

‘A relatively young mother with three children under the age of twelve. They would be living in a rented, cold house, separated from the father and husband, who is more than likely in some other relationship somewhere. Their sole source of income is the Domestic Purposes Benefit. They would have no transport and only very basic furniture. They would be left with considerable debts by the absent father. The mother would be suffering from depression and a gross lack of confidence. If measured by any definition of poverty, this family would fall well within that definition. Feelings of isolation, and sometimes of persecution, would be evident. Legal or medical problems may be additional burdens.’ (G. Bryant, 1988)

Today, Birthright has 14 member organisations operating around the country offering social services for children and families, especially those families led by one person. Read more about Birthright’s history and Birthright today.

Calling all former Birthright families!

Were you a Birthright child or a parent who accessed our services? If so, then we would love to hear from you! It's been 60 years since the first Birthright began. We would love to mark this milestone by sharing the stories of former Birthright children and parents. To share your story, please email us at office@birthright.org.nz and we will be in touch. We look forward to hearing from you!

BR-HB-StablesHawke's Bay Birthright - Stable Hearts and Stable Minds

During school term one, eight lucky recipients of Birthright Hawke's Bay Child & Family Care “Preventative Programme Awards” were treated to eight weeks of working with horses at the Stable Hearts Equine Centre just south of Hastings.

Each week the children, each aged between 8 and 13 years old, were collected from school to attend a 90-minute programme that taught them about their own feelings and actions through grooming, caring and riding the horses at Stable Hearts.

The horse’s reactions to the children are sometimes positive and sometimes negative, enlightening the children to certain behaviours of each of the horses – this creates the opportunity for the children to understand more positively about their relationships with friends and family and how their emotions, attitudes and reactions affect others.

The Stable Hearts programme is owned and run by Michelle Skafer who is a qualified psychotherapist and behaviour specialist. Michelle says the course increases children's self-confidence and develops self-management skills in a safe and fun environment.

"We work with children to explore positive communication methods and for them to understand how their attitudes and actions affect the horses and importantly their friends and family.” 

Trevor Adsett, CE of Birthright Hawke's Bay Child & Family Care, adds: “It’s a really unique approach which is gaining popularity in the USA and parts of Europe. We think the work Stable Hearts does is brilliant and achieves positive outcomes for the children in a strength-based way that supports the work Birthright Hawke's Bay does in local schools. We are looking forward to working with Stable Hearts on a regular basis. Small groups and the personal approach the team at Stable Hearts bring to the children certainly get big outcomes for the children - and we like that.”

Birthright in your area


Birthright New Zealand comprises 14 regional member societies. 

Each member society is autonomous and offers a range of services.

Find a Birthright in your region.

Family violence legislation review update

A summary of the submissions received as part of the Government's review of family violence legislation has been published on the Ministry of Justice website. The review aims to ensure New Zealand legislation reflects modern understandings of family violence, protects victims, holds offenders to account and is fit-for-purpose to underpin cross-governmental work on reducing family violence. Around 500 submissions were received during the public consultation process, which took place in August and September last year. The summary of submissions details the range and strength of the views on the topics covered in the discussion document. The Minister of Justice, Amy Adams, plans to introduce a Bill to Parliament this year once Cabinet makes decisions about what changes to make.

Subsidy for under 15s with poor vision

Do you have a child 15 or under who has poor vision? Well if you do they may be eligible for the Spectacle Subsidy, an initiative offered by the Ministry of Health. Through the subsidy, the Ministry of Health will pay up to $287.50 (including GST) a year towards either vision tests, glasses or eye patches. To qualify, parents/guardians need to be community services card holders or hold a high user health card. Your optometrist or eye specialist also needs to be registered as an assessor for the subsidy. To find an assessor near you please call 0800 17 1981. Find out more about the subsidy and how it works.

The Safeguarding Children Initiative

Want to know more about how to stop child abuse in your community? Well through the Safeguarding Children Initiative you can. Run by experienced practitioners in the field, this educational resource takes a more proactive approach to tackling child abuse and is free of charge. Training is offered via seminars delivered by the Safeguarding Children Initiative Team or through its free E-learning course. Learn more about the Safeguarding Children Initiative or access its free resources. You can also view a short video that explains what the Safeguarding Children Initiative is and what it offers.

Major overhaul for CYPs following release of report

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has outlined a major overhaul of Child Youth and Family, following a scathing interim report which outlines extremely poor outcomes for children who had been through the state care system.

As a result of the report, the Minister signalled that some of the major changes forecasted include: a shift towards a more child-centred model, include tighter tracking methods employed by CYPs - to stop individuals slipping through the cracks - and more work being contracting out to social services/NGOs. 

It is expected that the overhaul will require extra funding, which is currently being worked through by the report panel. The final report and its recommendations will then be collated and go through Cabinet before the reforms are implemented. Read the full interim report.



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Contact Birthright


Your local Birthright: 
Free call: 0800 457 146


Email: office@birthright.org.nz
National Office phone: 04 802 5377
National Office fax:      04 385 4698
P.O. Box 6302
Marion Square
Wellington 6141