Birthing Centre Newsletter June 2019

Newsletter June 2019





In this issue



Birthing story – Amanda Hodge.

Introducing Tish Taihia


Letter from the founder 

Dear all,

As I sit here at my desk (fancy term for kitchen table) writing to effect change; to put mother, baby, child, first in our nation’s priority, I ponder on these last five years of watching the new shoots of spring become the full bloom of summer. They morph into the bold colour of autumn, the cold winds of winter removing their clothing for the regenerating sleep that occurs before the awakening of spring. After five years of seasons I reflect on all the blessings that have come my way. The connections of good people, the learning born from the kindness of others, the struggles that grow me. And I am thankful.

Western civilisation gave me the roots of my learning but now the green shoots, new life, the connecting of the spiritual and physical, of place and ancestry, has been gifted to me through Māori wisdom and the mores of indigenous cultures throughout my world travels. I travel with the philosophers of change and traditions that hold societies together.

Now, you might ask, what has this got to do with Birthing Centre? Everything.

Our foundation, our ethos, sits firmly under the premise of Love Grows Brains. It is the love between two people that ignites new life, nurtures the fetus, and finally, through birth, the recognition of the child’s uniqueness through prayer, song, and the gifting of the child to the creator. A gift from Māoridom, from indigenous cultures far and wide. Where did we go wrong? Why did we go wrong?

These cultures I dig into, greedily eat up, nurture my soul and bring that ‘still small voice’ to a roar. Did we get too busy, accumulating for the eyes of others? Did we start looking for solutions through Government or ‘agencies’? Did we turn our gaze from the community? Perhaps unwittingly we have shot ourselves in the foot, paralysed ourselves, disempowered ourselves from making the change we need to happen.

Where have all the ‘wise women’ gone? The grandmothers, mothers, the midwives who hold women safe, who practice their skill, arts, and traditions. What we are doing is not working and still we head on that downward spiral where soon we (they) will have so ‘normalised’, clinical birthing (check out Brazil ) that the ‘wise women’ will become ‘in times past’ like so many things that have connected people in meaningful ways.

Here’s a thought. Why don’t we turn this on its head? Now, I have not had a healthy relationship with the union but I can see if they make a change in emphasis, with your hard-earned money, together we could educate the public to really value midwives’ role in our society, motivate aspiring midwives, create scholarships, and support a wide range of midwifery ethnicities to care for our vast multicultural diversity. According to the Government the coffers are empty. DHBs and others are taking on RNs, who while being highly skilled, are not what midwifery-led units want. If we won’t be funded how can we give raises? The Ministry of Health has turned a blind eye to the ‘pregnant princess who becomes the post-partum peasant’. We have believed our own lie; that women can be all things to all people, all of the time. They can’t.

Midwives tell me it is not about the money, but we all have rent, mortgages, mouths to feed. As much as midwives enter this profession to help women through the transformational time of pregnancy, birth, and postnatal care, they still must put gas in the car and pay bills. For now, the reality looks bleak, but the future can be bright if we work together. Numbers, power and money are only ever a temporary fix. Imagine if, together, we create a movement of being valued, esteemed, a sisterhood of wise women. I will sit down with anyone to further that cause.

Arohanui, Chloe

Chloe Wright
CEO, Birthing Centre


First baby born at Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre

The first baby was born at the new Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre on 23 May.
Pine Taua and Christian Tu’ugasala proudly announced the birth of their second child and son Tupotu Tu’ugasala, who arrived at 9.55am. He is named after his maternal grandfather.
Pine was elated that she had her son at Nga Hau Māngere after having her 19-month-old son at Middlemore Hospital. “It feels so comfortable and much better,” she said as she looked at Christian fast asleep in the queen-size bed after being her support person overnight.
Discussions are still ongoing with Counties Manukau District Health Board to fund women birthing at the centre so, until public funding is available, only seven of the 20 rooms are currently open for birthing.


Let’s Talk Women’s Health

Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre is hosting Dr Anil Sharma on June 18 for a discussion on women’s health and to celebrate the opening of the new centre. The evening will be attended by GPs, practice nurses, midwives, health professionals and their partners.

This educational session for health professionals will include discussion on common gynaecological issues, including menstrual disorders, prolapse and incontinence, and will qualify attendees for one Continuing Medical Education (CME) point.

For more information email:


Tish Taihia

As a member of Pasifika Midwives Aotearoa, Nga Hau Māngere’s new Clinical Midwife Manager Tish Taihia had been part of a collective who envisaged having a primary birthing unit in Māngere for many years.

“Birthing Centre and the Wright Family Foundation have been able to manifest that vision for us,” she says.

Tish is a New Zealand-born Samoan midwife, mother of six and grandmother of 14. She came to midwifery 22 years ago as a mature student.

After graduating she worked as a midwife at Counties Manukau District Health Board and remained there in various roles, including her last as Charge Midwife Manager of the high-risk antenatal and postnatal ward at Middlemore Hospital.

 “I had three home births myself and after working in high-risk secondary care I decided to put my name in the hat for this role and return to what originally drew me to midwifery - primary, low-risk birthing.”

Tish says the community response to Nga Hau Māngere so far has been “excellent”.

“We currently have up to 10 women come in most days to have a look around because they want to birth here. They just fall in love with the centre and can’t believe they have something of this standard in their community which is available for free.

“They are also learning about midwives and the work they do facilitating low-risk births. The fact they can give birth here rather than at the hospital is a revelation for some.”

Tish says she is looking forward to the centre becoming a community hub where women can come for their midwife appointments, attend education classes and get involved in Birthing Centre initiatives such as Milk Café for breastfeeding mums and cooking lessons with the local branch of SuperGrans.

“Nga Hau is located in the heart of Māngere, behind the town centre. It is a uniquely designed building [in the shape of a mother’s arms], ensconced between the Māori Anglican Church on one side, and an early childhood centre on the other.”

Tish is very involved in midwifery professionally and, through the work of Pasifika Midwives, invested in workforce development and improved care for all women.

When she is not at Nga Hau Māngere she enjoys spending quality time with her family, especially her “mokos” (grandchildren).

All mothers have a birthing story, and while each is unique, there are often similarities, and it’s nice to know you’re not alone when it comes to facing some of the challenges that come with being a new mum. Here is Amanda’s birthing story:

Amanda Hodge – mother of four.

“From the moment I was pregnant with my fourth baby I was determined to have an epidural. After my third baby I was terrified of giving birth as I had a rough time and ended up having surgery to repair an almost fourth degree tear (ouch). My midwife helped ease those fears and I decided to choose the Te Papaioea Birthing Centre as my place of delivery. When the time came, I had a few decent contractions on the way in and a couple more goodies heading up to the reception at around 11.30pm. My amazing midwife had the room all warm, dark and the bath ready in case I wanted it. I got my music on and settled in to bring our little boy into the world.

My midwife was amazing - she never checked my dilation at all as she said she could tell by my actions as to how I was progressing. I had a little scared moment, but she set me at ease, saying, “You can do this” and “You’re doing great”. Around 12.10am I started to feel the need to squat so hopped up on the bed to get ready for pushing. At 12.33am, after about three minutes of pushing, our baby boy was born, and my hubby placed him on my chest. My placenta birthed itself only minutes later. I had the absolute best birth ever and it goes to show how our bodies really do know what they are doing. With minimal intervention and a calm nurturing environment I can honestly say I enjoyed giving birth after being so terrified initially. Te Papaioea is a truly special place with nurturing, kind and knowledgeable staff.”

If you would like to share your birthing story, please contact Kerry, email:


A special Window of Opportunity

We have a window of opportunity – a period of time during which we can make sure our children are given the best start in life. But this window only lasts for a short time and we need to take full advantage of it.

Critical to giving a child the best start in life is making sure that child’s mother (and father) is given time to become the best possible parent they can be.

In New Zealand, we have a special window of opportunity – the first 48 hours after the birth of a baby where a mother is entitled to receive funded, in-patient postnatal care in a supportive environment. This is time she should receive to enable her to rest and recover, time to learn how to feed and care for her baby and importantly, time to form a lifelong attachment and loving bond with her baby.

As a society, we are neglecting the practical and emotional needs of our new mothers by urging or actively encouraging her to leave hospital early. The journey from mother-to-be to new mum is not something that should ever be taken lightly. Not only has this new mum just been taken to the brink of her stamina, she is now responsible for all the needs of a new, vulnerable human being. This new mum needs the best possible love and care we can provide. We need to prioritise her needs, ensure she is nurtured, nourished and has the time to heal.

National Party MP Louise Upston recently announced her private member’s bill which will give every mother a window of opportunity, not just for 48 hours but 72 hours if they need it. More importantly, to make sure they are able to receive this ‘time’, she proposes the establishment of a ring-fenced maternity fund which would mean the money for maternity care cannot be used elsewhere in the health system.

This is not only good news for mums, but for their babies and families. We need to empower society to honour this window of opportunity and meet the needs of our new mums. It is time to start recognising and meeting the needs of our postnatal women – the health of our families depends on it. 

News from our centres


Baby on the Move is now providing a free checking service for baby capsules/car seats every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at Bethlehem Birthing Centre from 9am-9.30am. A car seat technician is on-site to check that baby is sitting in the car seat correctly, and that it is installed in the car correctly.

The Milk Café breastfeeding support group continues each week with great attendance and a recent session included a visiting physiotherapist who offered advice on pelvic floor awareness. The development of another postnatal support group, in association with SuperGrans, is currently under way.
We’ve recently had some new additions to the BBC team, including new midwives and an administrator.

Te Papaioea

Milk Café First Birthday

Te Papaioea Birthing Centre’s Milk Café celebrated its first birthday on May 8 with a special morning tea attended by mums, dads and babies.


Left: Mum Laura and her 8-month old twins Isla and Cora with TPBC Support Staff Sam. Right: Milk Café facilitator Jacquie Nutt talks about the growth of the group over the past 12 months.

The Milk Café is run by lactation consultant Jacquie Nutt who also spoke about the growth of the breastfeeding support group.

Milk Café is held every Wednesday from 10am to midday. You're welcome to drop in for a casual chat, have a cuppa, get additional advice and support around feeding your baby, and meet other women. Milk Café also has its own Facebook group for mums to stay in touch in between sessions.

Pink Ribbon Breakfast


Te Papaioea hosted a Pink Ribbon Breakfast in May and raised $1302 to help support Breast Cancer Foundation NZ's vital work.

Special thanks to all our sponsors who helped make the event such a success:

  • Sam & Lou from Spoilt Beauty for the vouchers.
  • Debbie from Health 2000 for the beautiful products we added to our raffle prizes on the day.
  • Liz from Halo Salt Rooms for your voucher.
  • The Flower Shop for a gorgeous bouquet and buckets of gypsophila. Perfect for the occasion.
  • Wendy and Vern at the Coffee Club for adding food and coffee vouchers.
  • Alexa at Buck & Baa who gave us amazing, organic and ethical baby clothes.
  • Cafe MD, located on-site at 117 Ruahine Street, Palmerston North. Mike, your delicious breakfast was enjoyed by all.
  • Trade Tools, keeping our men in mind, for your toolbox and tape measure.
  • Rebecca Jorgensen and Norwex for a selection of Norwex products.
  • Kilmarnock Nurseries, for the PINK Azalea and Camellia.
  • The Balloon Lady, your PINK all-sorted balloon garland was a real feature.
  • Eco wax wraps – a selection of wraps.
  • Radius Peppertree – your random act of kindness of shortbread made for three lucky raffle number draws.

Find us online

Our website,, is a great port of call for anyone who wants to find out more about primary birthing, our philosophy and service.

You can also find previous issues of our newsletter here

Check out our Facebook pages too:
Bethlehem Birthing Centre:
Te Papaioea Birthing Centre:
Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre at Melling:
Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre:



Quote of the day

“The most precious jewels you’ll ever have around your neck are the arms of your children.”




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