Birthing Centre Newsletter October 2019

Newsletter October 2019

Birthing Centre Newsletter | October 2019

In this issue

On the campaign trail with Mothers Matter

Introducing Rachel Cleall
and Jane Spilman


Letter from the founder 

Dear all,

She said she needed to take some days for her father’s tangi. She told me his funeral would be massive. Softly, with the voice of sadness, she explained his role in the greater community: he was admired by many. Then in a voice barely audible she said, “But he was never there for us.”

That lesson went deep and although at times it is tempting to take the path of least resistance, or what is outwardly more glorious, when we put aside that which we love and are responsible for, we risk alienation of what really matters. Our people. To be mindful and intentional in our actions, even when the world admires something ‘other’, shows true commitment. We have enough to take care of in our own home, New Zealand/Aotearoa.

I continue to listen to the voices of our people. Mothers, fathers, medical professionals - a wide range of skills with one focus. How do we get out of this downward spiral of emptiness, loneliness, abuse, preventing our kids from the escapism of devices and drugs? If you are wondering what this has to do with birth, postnatal care, midwifery and family, it has everything to do with it.

Mitch McCann wrote about family violence for Newshub’s ‘Because it Matters’ series. In part two, it states that, “for doctors and nurses it begins in the classroom”. In the gritty world of midwifery, and in the world of the neuroscientist, they know it begins in pregnancy. They know the baby is totally dependent on its mother for survival. Her wellbeing is crucial to the bonding that must take place. The child’s sense of security may determine their attitude to the world around them. In the words of the Eagles song Hole in the World, “anger is just another word for love disappointed.”

Jan Logie is “leading the Government charge to curb family violence”. Helpfully, the Government has introduced new definitions of family violence. A thistle by any other name is still a thistle. Surely the logical thing to do is to short-circuit these situations of violence and neglect by prevention, by providing parents and parents-to-be with the toolboxes that enlighten and prepare for parenthood. I hear the cry from voices filled with regret, “I want to know how to parent”. We have the most incredible organisations in our country who have people skilled in supplying what is needed, but I hear the frustration as their voices, with real and practical solutions to critical care, are falling on cloth ears.

The experts are saying, “doing nothing is no longer an option”. What happened to our Prime Minister’s war cry of “Let’s do this” (prior to her election)? While massive excesses sit in our coffers people go hungry, homeless, and without hope. Doctor Kay Lynn Wong says, “I think the whole society needs to take responsibility and try to address it at an individual level.”

The philosophy of Birthing Centre is to put mothers at the centre of a healthy society. Our children depend on this. Let’s do this? Do what? Has “Let’s do this” become meaningless? We fully support the Mothers Matter campaign that in turn fully supports MP Louise Upston’s petition for 72 hours of postnatal care for mothers. She has been bold and specific in her focus for prevention – mothers who need the support of professional caregivers at their and their baby’s most vulnerable time.

We need midwives who should be fully supported by a Government which is serious about our shameful record of domestic violence and mental health. The care should be in the facility of their choice – ring-fenced funding from the Ministry of Health to meet the individual needs as the best start to the most responsible role any of us may have: the raising of a new, unique and irreplaceable life. Ms Upston is one individual who is doing what Dr Kay Lynn Wong endorses, that is, taking responsibility for definitive and intentional action.

So many of us believed “Let’s do this.” Maybe we are no longer that gullible. 

“In all cultures, the midwife’s place is on the threshold of life, where intense human emotions, fear, hope, longing, triumph, and incredible physical power – enable a new human being to emerge. The midwife’s vocation is unique.”  Shelia Kitzinger

The nation’s shame can be turned around if we put the heart of the nation back where it belongs. Mothers at the centre.


Chloe  ❤️
Chloe Wright


Everyone wants to hold the baby but who holds the mum?




On the campaign trail

Mothers Matter has been making great progress in raising awareness about a mother’s right to 48 hours postnatal care, and the need to establish a ring-fenced maternity fund that will ensure women have a choice about where they birth and receive postnatal support.

Follow this link to hear Dame Lesley Max of Mothers Matter talking to Heather du Plessis-Allan on the Drive show, Newstalk ZB (the interview starts at 9:30).

On the same day, Louise Upston MP launched her petition for three-day postnatal stays to provide mothers with quality care and support during a time that's critical to the future wellbeing of both mother and child.

The 48 hours after birthing is known as the ‘window of opportunity’, a precious time when a long-term bond can be formed that will mean mother and baby thrive, with hugely positive repercussions for wider whānau as well. If this window of opportunity isn’t honoured, it's slammed shut, and projections show that we pay in wellbeing for generations to come. It’s time the Ministry of Health started opening its eyes to this fact. We welcome a petition that calls for the extension of postnatal care to 72 hours.

The petition also addresses the need for a ring-fenced fund, so that mothers can choose how long they need to stay in the postnatal facility of their choice to heal and recover from birth, as well as have baby bonding time. This protection of maternity funds would mean primary birthing centres around the country, which are ready to support women with wraparound services, will be utilised, alleviating pressure on hospital maternity wards that are struggling to keep up with demand.

Birthing Centre is currently operating in Tauranga, Palmerston North, Lower Hutt and Māngere, but in Lower Hutt and Māngere, where there has been well-documented cases of maternity wards not coping, the birthing centres are not funded by the DHBs.

We simply have to remember that the maternal suicide rates in New Zealand are seven times that per capita than the UK, with Māori over-represented. We can’t let this shameful treatment of mothers continue.  

Please sign the petition to make a stand for mothers across our nation.

To see all the news and latest from the Mothers Matter campaign, visit the website or Facebook. You'll also find the latest video from gynaecologist Dr Anil Sharma talking about the changes in a woman's body during pregnancy.

If we don't use our voices, we will continue to see mothers and babies suffer. Let’s join together and make a difference. Please join the conversation! Your voice makes an impact.

Care for mothers today, well children tomorrow.

Birthing Centre founder named Women of Influence finalist

Birthing Centre founder and director Chloe Wright has been named as a finalist in the 2019 Women of Influence Awards.

Chloe is one of eight finalists in the Community Hero category and one of 82 finalists overall.

The annual awards recognise and celebrate exceptional New Zealand women who have committed time and energy to create real change in their industry and communities and are using their influence to achieve great things.

The winners of each of the 10 categories, and a supreme winner, will be announced at an awards event on 24 October.

Chloe says she is honoured to be a finalist in these prestigious awards, and to be included in the company of a group of inspiring women.

“I have never even won a raffle so initially I could not think of words to describe the feeling of being named a finalist in Women of Influence. Then I thought of all the people who work so hard to bring so many New Zealanders keys to open doors to their own potential, and I feel humble and breathless.”

As well as founding Birthing Centre, Chloe is CEO of the Wright Family Foundation. Chloe and her husband Wayne established the foundation to help achieve their vision of contributing to a healthy society built on family roots and education. It offers long-term support to life-changing projects and organisations with education as their driver.

At the centre of it all is a recognition of the importance of the mother/child bond and the father/child bond; the importance of language and literacy; the importance of the early days, months and years; and the importance of linking people together for the common good.

She is also the architect of the People Matter and Love Grows Brains television campaigns, the latter of which has helped to raise awareness of the importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life – a crucial and unique window of opportunity in a child’s development.

Chloe has a passion for literacy and is patron of Kids’ Lit Quiz and the New Zealand Spelling Bee, as well as supporting the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and the Tauranga-based Young NZ Writers.

She is also patron of SuperGrans and the Writemark Plain English Awards.


News from the Maternity Services Consumer Council


The latest newsletter from the Maternity Services Consumer Council looks at midwifery continuity of care and the importance of access to primary birthing options for all women.

It says while more than 90 per cent of women in New Zealand now have a midwife as their Lead Maternity Carer, primary birthing units are underutilised, the national homebirth rate has remained static and the numbers and rates of medical interventions have continued to rise in hospitals throughout the country.
It includes figures from Birthcare, a primary birthing facility in Auckland, that shows continuity of midwifery care results in much lower levels of intervention for women who choose to birth in a primary setting, even when they subsequently need to transfer to hospital.
To read the full content of the newsletter click here.

Rachel Cleall and Jane Spilman

In a nod to addressing the professional burnout experienced by midwives throughout New Zealand, Te Papaioea Birthing Centre has appointed two of its staff midwives to the role of Clinical Midwife Manager. Rachel Cleall (left) and Jane Spilman will each manage the centre one week a fortnight.

Primary birthing is a passion for both women, and Jane has a special interest in safe sleep.

She trained as a midwife and worked for MidCentral DHB in Palmerston North for several years before relocating to Taupō and working in rural primary birthing. When she heard that Te Papaioea was opening in Palmerston North in 2017, she was keen to return and joined the team in March 2018.

Jane is also a kaitiaki wahakura, helping women and whānau to create a woven flax, safe sleeping space and educating them on the meaning, benefits and symbolism of wahakura.

“I have always been a safe sleep champion, and quite a crafty creature, so I initiated an online course to learn how to weave. I linked in with a group in Taupō that had iwi funding to set up a marae-based wahakura weaving programme and they taught me the skills that I have brought here with me.”

Jane is looking forward to co-sharing the manager role with Rachel.

“It’s an exciting, innovative way to be working because we know there is a high burnout rate in midwifery, and we need to start working a bit smarter. Rachel and I have always worked alternate weeks to fit around our families, so for us it’s a smart way to achieve work-life balance.”

Outside of work Jane is mum to a 15-year-old son. The pair enjoy getting out into the bush and hunting for deer together, but otherwise you can find her crocheting hats and blankets for newborn babies, including those at Te Papaioea.

Rachel also has an extensive background in both secondary and primary midwifery, including as a lead maternity carer. She is an inaugural team member of Te Papaioea and has been 2IC since early 2018.

“After my third son was born at home, I felt a strong pull back to primary care midwifery. I was very much attracted to Birthing Centre and its vision, and once the opportunity presented itself to work here, I couldn’t get my application in fast enough!

“Birthing Centre provides safe and quality care for women in a relaxed, nurturing and home-like environment and our wonderful team of midwives here support women to achieve a positive birth experience by working closely with our highly-skilled community midwives that access our centre.

“Te Papaioea is such an asset for the women of the Manawatu region. To be able to access our facility and achieve their desire to birth without intervention and encounter a satisfying birth experience in a safe space is of huge significance, not only for the woman but also her whānau. I’m really excited to be working alongside Jane and I look forward to what the future holds.”

When Rachel isn’t catching babies, she keeps herself busy with her husband and five children and enjoys overseas travel. “I live semi-rural which offers me peace and tranquillity away from an otherwise busy and hectic lifestyle.”

News from our centres


Peggy & Friends Omokoroa kindly donated a basketful of knitting, including hats, booties and blankets, for our newborn babies recently. Peggy & Friends is a nationwide group of knitting hubs, creating and distributing knitwear to groups in the community. Bethlehem Birthing Centre appreciates the thoughtful gift of love from these ladies.


We also recently celebrated the 50th birthday of our chef Sylvia Choi with a beautiful cake. Sylvia makes all the fantastic healthy meals we serve to our mums. Thanks Sylvia, you're a rock star!
Our new postnatal support group in association with SuperGrans continues to grow, with a range of guest speakers, including a social worker from the Maternal, Infant and Child, and Adolescent Mental Health Service at the Bay of Plenty DHB talking about our emotional/mental health due to the changes in our lives by having a baby, tips from a pelvic health physiotherapist, and advice on car seat safety from Baby on the Move.

Nga Hau Māngere

Cake was the order of the day at Nga Hau Māngere also as we celebrated the birth of our 50th baby here last month.

As well as providing a calm, nurturing environment for local women to give birth, the birthing centre is increasingly being used for education, both for parents and midwives.

We have been hosting South Seas Healthcare antenatal classes 'Early pregnancy and pregnancy care' (up to 30 weeks gestation) and 'Getting ready for labour and birth' (over 30 weeks gestation). These are run by our Fijian midwife Nora Bukateci and based on the Tapuaki programme.

On 2 December we will also be hosting the Spinning Babies Workshop with Claire Eccleston, open to all professionals who serve people in their pregnancy and birth. This course introduces the Spinning Babies approach to pregnancy comfort, labour progress and easier birth. For more information click here.

Your experience at Birthing Centre

If you have stayed at one of our Birthing Centres we would love to receive your feedback.

Click here to complete our online feedback survey


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

“Mother: the most beautiful word on the lips of mankind.”

Kahlil Gibran


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Copyright © 2018 Birthing Centre Limited, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 13 465 Tauranga Central 3141

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