“Christchurch feels like home because it is! it’s the only place I’ve really known. It’s where my immediate family, who brought me up, are. My adoptive family. And so it does feel like home for me.

I always knew I was Māori, but didn’t know what the whakapapa was until I was 19. In terms of my whakapapa I don’t whakapapa here. In terms of Māori thinking, you know, we think about our tūrangawaewae differently. But as an adopted person I know the reality is far less black and white and a lot more gray. And that’s kind of where I sit, embrace all the ways that I do and don’t belong.

That’s the space that in the last couple of years, with my research, I’ve really probably found my voice as an adopted person, as a researcher, and as an academic. That’s probably a big part of my story right now. Being vocal, fighting for this cause, adoption law reform. I feel, you know, it’s very personal. Fighting for the people who I think of as my people, other adopted people.

Adoption is such an interesting case study of many of the things that are important to people. There’s this really interesting story about identity, about culture, ethnicity, belonging, you know, I still think that there’s a lot to learn from that, that can inform, say, how we think of assisted reproductive technology, donor conception, surrogacy. These are fundamental human questions I don’t think will ever go away.

I’m mum to three boys, and they do bring me a lot of joy; you know, they’ve been my pou in the last couple of years.

Two years ago, I made the trip to see Aoraki and that was a special moment. Even though I don’t have Ngāi Tahu whakapapa, I’ve been living under the mantle, under the korowai of that tupuna. Just to actually come face to face with the tupuna and show my gratitude; I do feel really anchored here.”

– Annabel

Charity registration number: CC57701