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First baby born at free south Auckland birthing centre

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A new birthing centre that offers mothers a free alternative to hospital care 

has reached a milestone: its first baby.

Tupotu Tu'ugasala was born at Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre in Māngere,

south Auckland on Friday to parents Pine Taua and Christian Tu'ugasala.

He is their second child.

Both staff and parents were "over the moon", a statement released by the centre said.

Taua said she preferred the comfort levels at the centre compared to being in hospital: "It feels so comfortable and much better here."

The centre's founder and chief executive Chloe Wright said Tupotu's birth was a chance to celebrate the mothers, babies and families of south Auckland.

The birthing centre is a first for the area and offers women with uncomplicated pregnancies an option other than birthing at hospital or home.

It is funded by the Wright Family Foundation.

Before it opened, Middlemore Hospital was one of the only options for south Auckland mothers-to-be. The closest birthing units were in Papakura, Botany Downs or Parnell, and transport to those was a barrier for many women, Wright said.

The centre also offers a pounamu pito (umbilical) cord cutter for families to use when a baby is born.

Circle lights are lit up on the side of the building after a birth to announce to the community it has a new member.

Clinical midwife manager Tish Taihia said discussions were ongoing with the Counties Manukau District Health Board to fund women birthing at the centre.

Until public funding was available, only seven of the 20 rooms were open for birthing, she said.

"It is important to us that mothers have their cultural birth and postnatal needs met and we will do all we are able to support this."

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