Story: Whāngai – customary fostering and adoption

Julie Ranginui

In this video clip Julie Te Turi Ranginui, of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Hāuaroa, Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi and Whanganui descent, talks about how she gave one of her children up to be taken as a whāngai in Taranaki. This is an English transcript of her comments:

'Then my mother-in-law asked, "When your baby is born, whether it is a boy or girl, I ask that you agree to send the child to Taranaki." This was because my mother-in-law had not lived up to her agreement to send her child back to Taranaki when she married her husband, who was from Waikato, you see. And I said, "Oh well, yes." Then the time came for me to have my baby. After the birth the nurses came to move my bed out of the birth room. But she didn't come back into the room, she instead went to the visitors' room. When I went in, it was filled with people. They had come to take my baby.'

Using this item

TVNZ Television New Zealand

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Basil Keane, 'Whāngai – customary fostering and adoption - The custom of whāngai', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 July 2024)

Story by Basil Keane, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jun 2017