News | National
19 Jul 2024 21:49
NZCity News
NZCity CalculatorReturn to NZCity

  • Start Page
  • Personalise
  • Sport
  • Weather
  • Finance
  • Shopping
  • Jobs
  • Horoscopes
  • Lotto Results
  • Photo Gallery
  • Site Gallery
  • TVNow
  • Dating
  • SearchNZ
  • NZSearch
  • RugbyLeague
  • Make Home
  • About NZCity
  • Contact NZCity
  • Your Privacy
  • Advertising
  • Login
  • Join for Free

  •   Home > News > National

    Does One NZ’s new ad campaign connect? Many adopted people might not think so

    One New Zealand’s ‘Let’s Get Connected’ campaign finds humour and emotion in a story of adoption – but glosses over the pain and loss of its reality.

    Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll, Associate Professor, School of Health Sciences, University of Canterbury
    The Conversation

    Adoption is often portrayed as a beautiful, loving act. It enables people to become parents to a child who is given a second chance at being part of a loving family. And a birth mother is relieved of a burden she was either unprepared for, or unable to carry.

    Mother and child are later reunited, and joy ensues, happy endings all round. A nice story, right? Yes it is, and one can see why telecommunications giant One NZ chose to capitalise on the redemptive power of these adoption tropes with its “Let’s Get Connected” advertising campaign.

    After all, closed adoption represents the epitome of disconnection for adopted people and their birth families. Under the current law, birth identity and relationships are legally erased while new adoptive identities and relationships are created.

    So far, we have only seen one “episode” in what is clearly an ongoing story in the campaign. But for a number of us who have experienced adoption directly, this first episode all too easily glosses over the pain and loss at the heart of adoption.

    Fantasy and reality

    Until the Adult Adoption Information Act was passed in 1985, many adopted people in Aotearoa New Zealand were raised with little or no information regarding their birth origins. They had to wait until age 20 to access their original birth certificate.

    So, for adopted people, the promise of connection is particularly poignant – as the advertisement depicts.

    The “plot” of the One NZ campaign is unusual, however, in that it centres on a transracial adoptive family who have apparently not disclosed or discussed adoption. This is despite it being plainly apparent from the physical differences between the Maori son and his very Pakeha adoptive parents.

    In real life, such late or non-disclosure of adoption and whakapapa would be unethical and out of step with current adoption realities or good practice. The fact this and other aspects of the adoptive experience are depicted for comic effect is deeply insensitive to those directly affected.

    The adoptive parents in this scenario assure their son that biology makes no difference – except it does. For many adopted people, even if we are loved and cared for by the parents who adopted us, such assertions don’t negate our interest and investment in knowing our biological origins.

    It is also our right, and something we should be free to decide the significance of, irrespective of the feelings or perspectives of others. Research shows that when adoptive parents deny the importance of biology, and the differences adoption can make, this can result in negative outcomes for adopted people.

    Read more: 'Nobody's child' – despite a compelling case for reform, NZ's adoption laws remain stuck in the past

    Changing the adoption narrative

    The son at the centre of the One NZ campaign clearly does feel this tug. His quest for origins drives the narrative forward.

    The vital clue to his parentage lies in a stone given to him by his unknown mother. He carries it around the world, asking random strangers if they know its provenance. The implication being, find the source of the stone, find my mother.

    It is an advertisement, of course, and not an objective depiction of reality. But this portrayal also belies the angst and anguish that can often accompany an adoptee’s decision to search – let alone the vulnerability of approaching potential family members. The fear of rejection looms large for many adopted people.

    A particularly jarring aspect of the advertisement is the birth mother’s recollection of the moment of her son’s conception: a fast-cut sequence of abandon and surprise, played for laughs.

    In fact, our birth mothers carried us for nine months, and were then faced with the difficulty – often under pressure or coercion, and in a hostile and judgemental environment – of having to give us up to strangers. The pain of this is long-lasting, for mothers and adopted children.

    For the many of us who are adopted, the commodification of these experiences to sell products and services will hit differently.

    It may be that the campaign moves on to reflect some of those harder and more complex realities, which persist despite attempts to challenge and change that narrative. We will wait and see.

    The Conversation

    Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.
    © 2024 TheConversation, NZCity

     Other National News
     19 Jul: A 15-year-old who allegedly threatened a woman with a machete and attempted to steal her car in an Auckland carpark's been taken into custody
     19 Jul: An Auckland couple have been sent to prison for three years after spending up on jewellery and beauty salon visits instead of paying tax
     19 Jul: A third man's been charged with murder, in relation to the death of South Canterbury man, Anaru Moana
     19 Jul: Want to sleep longer? Adding mini-bursts of exercise to your evening routine can help – new study
     19 Jul: Is your desk job killing your back? Ancient Egyptian scribes had the same aches and pains, say researchers
     19 Jul: Police say they're following positive lines of inquiry in a homicide inquiry in Palmerston North
     19 Jul: Russia’s reasons for invading Ukraine – however debatable – shouldn’t be ignored in a peace deal
     Top Stories

    The All Blacks are keen to make a statement More...

    Several banking services across New Zealand are reportedly being affected by outages More...

     Today's News

    Johnny Depp has revealed a new art collection inspired by his own life 21:28

    Rugby League:
    The Warriors acknowledge they need to pull their finger out if they're going to win the race to the NRL's top eight and make the playoffs 21:17

    Kim Kardashian is she's been "turning into a full robot" with "no emotion" 20:58

    Millie Bobby Brown and Jake Bongiovi are planning a second wedding ceremony 20:28

    Tallulah Willis wants to use her family's struggles to "help other people" 19:58

    John Stamos "doesn't know where [he] would be" if he hadn't become a father 19:28

    Several banking services across New Zealand are reportedly being affected by outages 19:17

    Maya Jama and Stormzy have split up 18:58

    Rugby League:
    The Warriors expect the Raiders to bring equal levels of desperation to them in tonight's crucial NRL encounter in Canberra 18:57

    Jane Krakowski knew she'd found fame when she got evicted 18:28

     News Search

    Power Search

    © 2024 New Zealand City Ltd