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'I’m in a position where I can talk to some friends' - MP and new dad Tāmati Coffey on updating surrogacy laws

They've gone through the Oranga Tamariki vetting process, now it’s off to the Family Court for Tāmati Coffey and husband Tim Smith following the birth of their baby boy last week.

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The Labour MP, partner Tim Smith and surrogate Natasha Dalziel speak to Seven Sharp about the hoops and hurdles they had to overcome. Source: Seven Sharp

The pair last week announced the arrival of son, Tūtānekai Smith-Coffey, who was born in the early hours of July 10.

Tāmati Coffey is a Te Arawa tribal descendant - the name Tūtānekai stemming from one of the tribe's most famous love stories between Hinemoa and Tūtānekai, who battled adversity to be together.

Tāmati said they had "toiled over" the name.

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Former TV personality and Labour MP Tamati Coffey and partner Tim Smith have become dads for the first time but the path to fatherhood for gay male couples is not an easy one. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well it’s taken a village to make this one. Sunday has been alongside Tamati and Tim, their surrogate and egg donor from go to whoa through the up and downs on their journey to start a family. Source: Sunday

But it’s not just the name they have had to toil over.

The couple can’t legally claim Tūtānekai is theirs until an adoption process is carried out between them and surrogate, Natasha Dalziel.

Tāmati says he’s learnt a lot on the surrogacy journey. Enough for him to use his powers as an MP to call for a law change around the issue.

“Now we need to go to the Family Court,” Tim says.

“We need to submit an application to adopt, Tash needs to submit an affidavit to say she doesn’t want to keep the baby and she needs to say why. And then we adopt Tūtānekai, so yeah it’s a strange process,” he says.

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The Labour MP and his partner Tim Smith welcomed the birth of their baby boy via surrogate. Source: Sunday

Tāmati says it’s “strange” that Tim has to adopt his own child given he is the biological father.

“That’s when we say, the law is a bit of an ass.”

He hopes to make a law change from observing the process and seeing how it can be done better.

“I’m told we are only the fourth gay couple in New Zealand to actually do this through a fertility clinic and to get to this point,” Tāmati says.

“Lots of people bow out because of the cost, because all of the hoops you have to jump through, so yeah I’m in a position where I can talk to some friends and hopefully change some of the rules around surrogacy to make it easier for couples using a surrogate,” he says.