New Zealand Labour MP (Member of Parliament) Tāmati Coffey and his husband Tim Smith became first-time dads on July 10, 2019 when they welcomed their son Tūtānekai Smith-Coffey via surrogate. Needless to say, the dads are overjoyed to finally become parents.
Tāmati, MP for the Waiariki electorate and former TV weatherman, and his husband Tim, a former music teacher from Northern England, had a civil union in 2011 and have been together 10 years. Fatherhood had been "a long time coming," Tāmati had said when he announced that he and Tim were expecting at Auckland's Big Gay Out.
"It's always been something I knew I was going to do," Tāmati told One News' Sunday, referring to fatherhood, during the couple's path to fatherhood mini documentary. "I didn't quite know how I was going to do it."
When the interviewer asked the dads-to-be if they were even the slightest bit terrified, Tim responded, "Yeah, I think it's nerve-wracking becoming a parent. We don't know what it's like, eh."
"No, but we're really ready for this," responded Tāmati.
He’s here. and he came into this world surrounded by his village. #modernfamilies Mum doing awesome. Dads overwhelmed at the miracle of life.
— Tāmati Coffey (@tamaticoffey) July 9, 2019
For gay men in New Zealand, becoming a dad is challenging. Few children are available for adoption in New Zealand, and commercial surrogacy is illegal. Surrogacy for a gay man or couple has to be an altruistic arrangement on the part of the surrogate and it's illegal to pay her more than her reasonable expenses.
While gay marriage was made legal in 2013 (watch the video of folks in parliament breaking out in a traditional Maori love song once the vote in favor of marriage equality was read), surrogacy for gay men in New Zealand is still incredibly difficult, with only a handful of successful surrogacy journeys taking place within the country to date. Along with the additional reports from doctors, lawyers and counselors needed for altruistic surrogacy, gay men also don't get access to the publicly funded IVF treatments that are available in New Zealand.
Watch the above mini documentary following some of Tāmati and Tim's journey to fatherhood, and a look at what that path has been like for other gay men in New Zealand.
"What is worth it?" the interviewer asked the new dads, shortly after welcoming their son via water birth in a local birth center. "Was it worth, Tash?" Tāmati asked their surrogate, Natasha.
"100%," she replied, "so much joy."