Story: Parenting

Unmarried mothers

In Pākehā society until the 1970s having a child out of wedlock was socially unacceptable. Many pregnant single women went to special maternity homes months before they gave birth so nobody would know about their situation. After their babies were born, many were given up for adoption. This clip from the 2009 film Piece of my heart shows a young woman (played by Emily Barclay) arriving at a maternity home. The matrons tells her about her duties while in the home and leaves her in the dormitory where she will sleep until her baby is born.

Using this item

MF Films
Reference: Piece of my heart. Producer, Michele Fantl; writer and director Fiona Samuel; Auckland: MF Films, 2009

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How to cite this page:

Lesley Patterson, 'Parenting - Marriage, separation and sole parenting', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/video/26336/unmarried-mothers (accessed 27 January 2022)

Story by Lesley Patterson, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 26 Jun 2018