Banning female genital mutilation in New Zealand

It’s taken 12 years, and required a change to Parliament’s archaic rules, to ban female genital mutilation (FGM), in all forms in New Zealand.

It is now passed into law.

Ayan Said, PhD student and AUT Child and Youth Health Research Centre member, as well as an Advisor to the New Zealand FGM Education Programme, has been lobbying for the change since 2008. The ritual cutting has been illegal in New Zealand since 1996. But the definition in the legislation did not contain all types of FGM.

It is estimated that more than 200 million women have undergone FGM, across the world. It usually happens before the age of 16, or before marriage. Ayan noted in Stuff News (29 July, 2020) ‘Another two million girls are at risk each year’. Not only does this benefit women of all ages locally, it sends a strong message globally that FGM in all its forms must be banned.


Research based on Ayan’s masters’ thesis and published in ‘Pacific Health’ was crucial in providing evidence for the FGM bill process:

  • New Zealand should intensify efforts to eliminate female genital mutilation by 2030: the views of women from communities that practice FGM/C, (Read the article in Pacific Health)

Researcher: Ayan Said

Read Ayan's profile

'MPs reach across the House to ban FGM' (Stuff)

AUT PhD student Ayan Said played a key role in banning female genital mutilation in New Zealand – read the full article on Stuff news (29 July, 2020).

Read article on Stuff

‘A quiet activist’ (AUT news)

Ayan Said has walked alongside migrant and refugee communities for a decade, unpacking a deeply cultural and sensitive issue – read the full article in AUT news (17 November, 2020)

Read article on AUT website