The child, a boy, was 3 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. The parents were not married but had joint rights of custody in respect of the boy. On 22 January 1990 the father took the child to England.
The parents had lived together in New Zealand for two years until the end of 1988. They then spent eleven months in England and in mid November 1989 they went to Australia. The purpose of this voyage was the subject of dispute.