CHILDREN, LAW RELATING TO
The general age of majority in New Zealand is 21, which the law regards as being attained on the day before the twenty-first birthday. Persons under 21 are known as infants or minors, the terms being almost interchangeable, although “minor” is used more especially of older children.
The actual age of majority, however, differs for different purposes. Sixteen is an important dividing line. A child over sixteen cannot ordinarily be compelled to remain at home against his wishes. Sixteen is the minimum age for marriage, and is also the age of consent for the purpose of the criminal law as to unlawful sexual intercourse. A minor of sixteen or over can probably give a valid consent to any usual or reasonable surgical operation. He holds a separate passport and is treated as an adult by the immigration laws.