Go to the site map page Go to the search page Go to the contact us page To to the Government Portal www.govt.nz Go to the top of the Page

Gay age of consent

Gay rights poster
Gay rights poster 1985, Designed by Neill Costelloe (1960–90), published by and reproduced courtesy of the New Zealand University Students' Association and the Wellington Gay Task Force

The 1985 Homosexual Law Reform Bill proposed that the age of consent for gay couples be 16 – the same as that for heterosexual couples.

There was debate within gay rights groups over the age of consent. It was known that some Members of Parliament would only support the bill if the proposed age was 18 or 21. However, gay rights campaigners decided to push for 16, even if it meant the bill might fail, because equal rights for heterosexuals was a core concern.

More stories

Have a go at our interactive games


Can you survive in the early 20th century, identify famous New Zealanders, and guess which decade you're in? 

Play the games.


© Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand.