Home | Browse Topics | Prisoner's rights | | Whāngai

Prisoner's rights

Some options after a positive test


What is Whāngai?

Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 ss 108, 115

Whāngai is a care arrangement according to tikanga Māori (Māori custom) where a child is cared for by someone other than their parents (often by whānau). Usually the relationship with the child’s birth parents is still maintained.

Whāngai arrangements are not formally recognised by the law, so like foster care, whāngai is a care arrangement not a ‘legal status’. This means that unless there is an adoption order by the court, the birth mother remains the legal guardian of the child.

A child who is raised in a whāngai arrangement may have rights to Māori Land. This will depend on the tikanga of the iwi or hapu of the child and either: the birth parents, or the new parents. See the chapter “Māori Land” in the Community Law Manual for more information.

Next Section | Healthcare

Did this answer your question?

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide initial free legal advice and information.

Also available as a book

Pregnancy Rights

A basic, plain language guide that contains practical answers to questions about pregnancy and the law. It covers sex and consent, options after a positive pregnancy test, what help you can get with school, work, and parenting and more. Pregnancy Rights is written for young pregnant people, their whānau and advocates.

Buy Pregnancy Rights

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top