Story: Adoption

Christchurch Female Home, 1870s

Christchurch Female Home, 1870s

Rescue homes for unmarried pregnant women were first established in the 19th century by charitable and religious organisations. Women were admitted to the homes during pregnancy and gave birth there. Before and after the birth they did domestic work in the homes, which was intended to keep them on the straight and narrow path and make them more employable later. The women kept their babies, who were cared for in an on-site nursery.

Using this item

Canterbury Museum, Canterbury Pilgrims and Early Settlers' Association Collection
Reference: 1949.148.198

Permission of Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch, New Zealand must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Anne Else, 'Adoption - Māori and colonial adoption', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 2 April 2023)

Story by Anne Else, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 18 Apr 2018