Sullivan Birth Registration Act 2014

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Sullivan Birth Registration Act 2014

Private Act2014 No 1
Date of assent14 April 2014
Commencementsee section 2
  • Preamble

    (1) Rowen Helen Louise Sullivan was born on 23 February 1993 in England. Her parents were Diane Sullivan, who was a British citizen, and Doreen Margaret Shields, who was born in New Zealand. As Diane Sullivan was the birth parent only her name was recorded on Rowen Sullivan's birth certificate:

    (2) The family moved to New Zealand in November 1999 and both Rowen and Diane Sullivan became permanent residents on family grounds. Diane Sullivan and Doreen Shields were unable to marry under the Marriage Act 1955 following the Court of Appeal decision in Quilter & Ors v Attorney-General [1998] 1 NZLR 523:

    (3) Diane Sullivan became terminally ill and Diane Sullivan and Doreen Shields investigated the possibility of adoption by Doreen Shields, but because they were unable to marry they could not be spouses and therefore were unable to jointly adopt pursuant to section 3(3) of the Adoption Act 1955. Any alternative adoption order would have required the removal of Diane Sullivan's name from the birth certificate. Accordingly Doreen Shields applied for and was granted additional guardian status of Rowen Sullivan under section 23 of the Care of Children Act 2004. Doreen Shields's guardianship expired on Rowen Sullivan's 18th birthday on 23 February 2011 pursuant to section 28(1)(a) of the Care of Children Act 2004:

    (4) Diane Sullivan died on 2 August 2010 when Rowen Sullivan was 17 years old:

    (5) Rowen Sullivan became a New Zealand citizen on 30 May 2011. As at that date Doreen Shields was Rowen Sullivan's only living parent but, given the expiration of the guardianship, it was thought that there was no legal recognition of their relationship:

    (6) Accordingly, Doreen Shields and Rowen Sullivan agreed to apply for an adoption order, which was made by the Family Court at Upper Hutt on 15 January 2013 (FAM-2012-078-000261) in the name of Doreen Shields. However the order required the removal of Diane Sullivan's name from Rowen Sullivan's birth certificate:

    (7) Because Diane Sullivan died prior to the passing of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013, there is no means, other than by a Private Bill, by which Diane Sullivan's name can be added to Rowen Sullivan's birth certificate in order that both parents can be recorded as such under the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995:

The Parliament of New Zealand therefore enacts as follows:

1 Title
  • This Act is the Sullivan Birth Registration Act 2014.

2 Commencement
  • This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

3 Interpretation
  • In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—

    Registrar-General has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995

    specified adoption order means the adoption order made in favour of Doreen Margaret Shields by the Family Court at Upper Hutt on 15 January 2013 (FAM-2012-078-000261) in respect of Rowen Helen Louise Sullivan.

4 Registration of adoption order to include birth mother's details
  • The Registrar-General must add, in accordance with section 24 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995, the details of Diane Sullivan as birth mother on the registration of the birth of Rowen Helen Louise Sullivan (as well as the details of Doreen Margaret Shields) as if—

    • (a) a notice under section 23 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995 had been received containing that information; and

    • (b) the specified adoption order had been made in favour of Diane Sullivan and Doreen Margaret Shields.

5 Parents of Rowen Helen Louise Sullivan
  • (1) Diane Sullivan and Doreen Margaret Shields are, for all purposes, the parents of Rowen Helen Louise Sullivan.

    (2) Subsection (1) has effect despite the specified adoption order.

    (3) Subsection (1) does not affect section 4.


Legislative history

5 July 2013Introduction (Bill 139–1)
7 August 2013First reading and referral to Government Administration Committee
18 December 2013Reported from Government Administration Committee (Bill 139–2)
19 February 2014Second reading
12 March 2014Committee of the whole House
9 April 2014Third reading
14 April 2014Royal assent