Commercial surrogacy is prohibited in New Zealand by the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004 (HART Act). However, altruistic clinic‐assisted surrogacy is permitted. Couples wishing to attempt altruistic surrogacy must apply for approval to a statutorily appointed ethics committee. One of seven principles that underpin the HART Act stipulates that the needs, values and beliefs of Maori (NZ’s indigenous population) should be considered and treated with respect.

This paper reviews the outcomes of surrogacy applications since the HART Act was established and the uptake of surrogacy by Maori.

The authors examined the demographic data provided to the ethics committee by way of surrogacy applications and the outcome data provided by fertility clinics. This paper reviews the outcomes for surrogacy applications: the number accepted/declined, the number of live births, those applications discontinued and uptake by Maori.

Of 104 applications for surrogacy between 2005 and 2010, 4 (3.8%) were declined. By July 2011, of 100 approved, there have been 26 (26%) live births; 52 (52%) were discontinued, and 22 (22%) remain ongoing. Maori are much less likely to utilise surrogacy. Of the 104 original applications, 9 (8.6%) Maori women were willing to act as a surrogate, and 2 (1.9%) were intended mothers. 7 (6.7%) Maori were partners of a surrogate, with 2 (1.9%) intending mothers having Maori partners.

The process of surrogacy applications is comprehensive and robust, resulting in few being declined. Further research is required to discover why applications are discontinued and why, despite explicit attempts to meet the needs of Maori, few utilise surrogacy.