The law

New Zealand laws affect your sexual and reproductive health/oranga taihema in a number of ways. It is important to know what these are.

Different countries have different laws. It is important that you know about New Zealand law and what it means.

What is the legal age to have sex in Aotearoa New Zealand?

It is legal in New Zealand for young men and women to have sex once they are both 16. This is called the Age of Consent.

The same law applies to sexual relations between young people of the same sex.

What is consent?

Consent means that both people say and show “yes”. Having sex with someone who has not consented or who is too drunk or drugged to give consent is rape. It is not okay to talk or threaten someone into having sex – this could be sexual assault.

How old do i need to be to get contraception?

You can buy condoms at any age. There is no law that stops people younger than 16 from buying condoms.

You also have the right to be prescribed the pill or other contraceptives. Your nurse or doctor will want to ensure you are not at risk and you understand what you’re doing.

However, if they think, or you tell them, you are at risk or there is a risk to someone else, they would have to share that with other people to get you help.

They would talk about this with you first and would also encourage you to talk with your parents or another trusted adult.

How old do I need to be to have an abortion?

There is no legal age limit on seeking or having an abortion. This means that a woman or girl of any age can agree (consent) to have an abortion or refuse to have one.

What happens if I father a child?

If you father a child, you are legally and financially responsible for the child until their 19th birthday. If you are under 18, the financial responsibility falls on your parents.

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

Find a clinic

Visits are free if you are under
22 (NZ residents only)


Know someone who would
like to read this? Share it.