Birthing Centre Newsletter March 2020

Newsletter March 2020


Birthing Centre Newsletter | March 2020

In this issue

Meet the team – Traci Fricker

New murals for Nga Hau Māngere


Letter from the founder 

Kia ora,

I can hardly believe I have been on Planet Earth as long as I have! And yet, I cannot remember being more excited about any year more than I am about 2020. There seems to be such an undercurrent of imminent change that will see both the science and the sense of what is known as the first 1000 days come to fruition. A time we may look back on and say, “what took them so long?”

The robust body of evidence that recognises the critical importance of the first 1000 days has been with us for some time, is replicated universally, and has finally taken hold in New Zealand through the bold initiative of MidCentral DHB. Working together, this DHB is the vanguard of what is possible. Engaging the philosophy of a social enterprise (Te Papaioea Birthing Centre) and the rigorous expertise of the maternity unit of the DHB, we can expect the best outcomes for mothers, baby, and whānau. Our midwives of New Zealand should expect to practice the art to which they are so rigorously trained, working across the sisterhood of primary care, secondary care, and our community midwives (LMCs). Working together, we can make this the gold standard.

Being witness to, and educated in the mores of traditional societies, I am continually impressed and convinced that we are fast losing our way in the care and respect of motherhood. It is not about the ’bump’, or how quickly one regains one’s figure, it is about the joy of creating new life. Whether that is planned or not, each life is unique and irreplaceable and that is a fact. We, the people, the community, the Government, have a social responsibility to nurture and comfort those who are vulnerable. Every pregnant (hapu) woman is vulnerable. Her vulnerability may come from different directions but what each woman needs is to be cared for, to know someone is on her side. She has a human right; we have a responsibility.

I am excited that this is the International Year of the Midwife. We are not looking for platitudes from Government. For Government to say they are behind this we need to see real action. We insist on tangible action. I am told we have the midwives, but midwifery numbers are eroding. When we fail our midwives, we fail our mothers, we fail our families, and we fail to grow a healthy society. We see the catastrophic effect of not caring for those most vulnerable, and I am not talking about children. The children’s future is in the hands of parents who have hope.  

I cannot put the importance of the intimate relationship between mother and midwife more succinctly than these two mothers:

“In Melbourne I had no choice of midwife and instead was passed around to different people, never seeing the same doctor or midwife more than once. It felt very impersonal and disconnected. It is a far more personalised experience in Aotearoa and the opportunity to build a relationship with one midwife makes all the difference. After a number of discussions, and meeting my midwife I felt so much more at ease. I knew we had made the right choice to return to New Zealand for the birth. I trusted I was being looked after by a professional and Amo’s calm and attentive nature made me feel I was important and truly cared for.” - Kylie Wright (estimated delivery date 20 April 2020).

“Until I had my first child, I had no prior knowledge or insight as to what maternity care would be like in the UK. During my pregnancy I was assigned to a community midwife team. They don’t work in the labour ward. They manage women pre and postnatal but don’t generally deliver any babies. Over the course of your pregnancy you build a pretty close bond with your community midwife. After all, you are sharing one of the intimacies of one of the most special experiences of your life with them. I remember by the end being sorely disappointed that Lucy or Jo wouldn’t be at my actual birth and even though I knew this all along, it was still gutting and added further angst to what is already an anxious time in the lead-up to giving birth. But essentially, in the UK if you don’t give birth to your child within a 12-hour shift, you could go through up to six midwives over the course of 36 hours if that’s how long you are in labour. I think the UK takes a more pragmatic approach to pre and postnatal care. In a saturated and oversubscribed health system this is perhaps the only way maternity can cope.” - Emily Cook (UK).

Which leaves us with mothers who may not be able to cope.

Be the change you want to see.” – Mahatma Ghandi.

Although not a midwife, as a mother and champion for mothers and midwives, I put myself in this mix. Any separation of midwifery into collectives of primary, secondary facilities, or LMC status divides the sisterhood. Any ‘work to rule’ erodes the true calling.

I have found when resolve is shaken, through threats, accusations, and unkind actions, remember your strength:

“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on its own wings.” – Author unknown.

Nga mihi mahana,

Chloe  ❤️
Chloe Wright


Did you see the fantastic Mothers Matter video campaign on television over the summer break? If you missed it you can watch all eight clips on YouTube here.

We’ve had a fantastic response from the public, with up to 374,000 people viewing the clips on television and another 6700 on YouTube.
Thank you to all the wonderful people who donated their time to appear in the video clips including our spokesperson Dame Lesley Max, gynaecologist Dr Anil Sharma, Alison Sutton from Talking Matters, Heather Hayden from Parents Centre, senior cultural advisor Pouroto Ngaropo, midwife Katarina Komene and our beautiful mama Kilistina Mateaki.
We’ve been hard on the campaign trail, with Mothers Matter founder Chloe Wright and spokesperson Dame Lesley invited to attend a National Caucus policy discussion group at Parliament to inform MPs of the goal of Mothers Matter to influence policy relating to postnatal stays and the first 1000 days.
Mothers Matter supports MP Louise Upston’s petition to extend the current 48 hours postnatal care entitlement to a three-day stay. Research shows this will have a massive impact on the continuation of breastfeeding for mothers who may have difficulties. We urge everyone to look at the petition here.
We are continuing with our written requests to Health Minister David Clark for a meeting. So far we have only received repeated declines to our requests.

Mothers Matter aims to empower all women and their families to make an informed choice about their postnatal care, including awareness of their legal right to 48 hours of funded in-patient postnatal care regardless of the type of birth experience. Mothers Matter is also putting pressure on the DHBs and Government to allow mothers to choose where they birth and receive postnatal care. This will allow for better utilisation of the primary birthing units around the country, while simultaneously alleviating pressure on the hospitals. 
We encourage you to visit and join the Mothers Matter Facebook page, which is a community of nearly 8000 and growing! Make comments, tell us your stories. The page is a way to show our country and DHB leaders our experiences so that they understand why improvements are needed. Visit here.

Traci Fricker

Te reo Māori teacher, parasailing operator, switchboard operator, property manager, office manager and IT systems analyst – you name it, Birthing Centre administration manager Traci Fricker has done it all.
Traci is the ‘go-to’ for all four birthing centres and also doubles as Executive Assistant to Birthing Centre founder and Wright Family Foundation CEO Chloe Wright. The work of the two organisations holds a special place in her heart.
“Every day is different. There is always something new and challenging and the positive outcomes we achieve in the community make the job really rewarding.”
On a day-to-day basis Traci’s work usually involves dealing with information management, human resources and property maintenance and management, however she filled in for a few days last year on reception at Bethlehem Birthing Centre.
“It was pretty quiet most of the time but the one day I popped out to the shops for 15 minutes I get back to find a mum had just given birth in the hallway and I missed the whole event!”
Outside of work Traci is a mum of one and step mum of two, and loves pottering in her garden on her Western Bay of Plenty lifestyle block. As well as a menagerie of animals, she has two fish tanks, an axolotl, and three outdoor ponds full of goldfish.
“My neighbour calls me the crazy fish lady,” she laughs.
Traci’s love of fish extends to catching them as well. She regularly casts a line off the beach at Matata, and also enjoys fly fishing, her biggest catch being an 8lb brown trout from an undisclosed stream.
“I’m not allowed to say where. That’s a secret!”


International Year of the Midwife 2020

The World Health Organisation has designated 2020 the Year of the Midwife to acknowledge the vital role midwives play in providing essential and effective health services worldwide.

Midwives are at the birth of the vast majority of babies in New Zealand; in homes, in primary maternity units; in hospitals. Alongside women, partners and whānau, they are wise companions on a universal journey that begins with the birth of a baby.

The Ministry of Health is using 2020 to showcase midwifery as a worthwhile and rewarding career choice. Throughout the year, there will be a concerted push to promote midwifery in New Zealand, upskill and inform people about aspects of midwifery; and push for more education and employment options for the midwifery workforce.

And yet the Minister of Health refuses to engage with Mothers Matter who fully supports, in a very vocal way, the need for midwifery care and solutions to a growing problem through declining numbers of midwives. Where is the consistency?

How to get involved in International Year of the Midwife:
  • Get on social media. Add a frame to your Facebook picture. Posts pictures of you at work and your colleagues and use one of the hashtags: #SupportNursesAndMidwives #midwives2020
  • Add the logo to your email and show your support for our nurses and midwives
  • Take part in events at your workplace or public events that are promoted to support midwives.

Birthing Centre gets behind St John car seat ID sticker initiative

St John has introduced a car seat ID sticker to be placed on the side of a car seat to assist emergency services in identifying children in cars when responding to a motor vehicle accident when there is no one at the scene able to do so.

The sticker also contains two emergency contacts, which allows emergency services to pass the information on to hospital staff to appropriately contact next of kin for the child.

Birthing Centre will have a limited supply of the stickers, and they can can also be picked up at St John Opportunity Shops. See here for more information.

Generous donations from Namaste Foundation, Rascal & Friends and Beanies for Babies

Birthing Centre has been blessed with a very generous $8000 donation from the Namaste Foundation.
Namaste Foundation supports non-profit projects for "a more beautiful world."

Birthing Centre also has a fabulous new partnership with nappy company Rascal & Friends! Every baby born in 2020 will receive a 'Welcome to the World' pack including a pack of newborn nappies and wipes.

Beanies for Babies has also generously donated packages of knitting to our centres recently. The group accepts knitting and crocheting and distributes it to hospitals, Plunket and other charity groups with the assistance of New Zealand Couriers.

Midwife education days at Bethlehem Birthing Centre

Bethlehem Birthing Centre is hosting a number of education days for midwives this year:
  • Maternal Mental Health Workshop – April 22
  • Māori Perspectives of Breastfeeding and Mama Aroha Talk Cards with Amy Wray – May 1
  • Wellness and Balance: Keys to a Sustainable Midwifery Life with Debbie Karl – July 17
  • Grief and Loss Workshop – July 31
Places are limited. To book, contact Alexandra Deas

Murals bring energy to Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre

A series of four hand-painted murals by talented young artist Waiari MacMillan have breathed life into the walls of Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre.
The murals depict Te Timatanga, the genesis story of Māori; Migration from Hawaiki, the story of how Māori left their ancestral homelands of Hawaiki and navigated their way to Aotearoa; a garden of native plants used in birthing, including a pataka, or traditional Māori food storage facility; and a line-up of some of the migrants who followed Māori to New Zealand, including Pacific Islanders, Europeans, Asians and Africans.
Birthing Centre founder Chloe Wright says rather than having digitalised murals, she considered it vital to have the energy and inspiration of the artist translated directly on to the walls.
“Waiari became a loved member of our centre and his beautiful spirit within our walls is already sorely missed.”
Waiari, 23, says the 40m of murals, which wrap around the walls of the centre’s internal corridor, took him around a year to complete and he is “very happy” with the result.
And you don’t have to be having a baby at Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre to be inspired by Waiari’s work. If you would like to see the murals you can arrange a time to visit, phone 09 281 2046.


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.

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

“Babies respond intuitively to love. They are blind to the differences as defined by the world. ”

Mary Gordon


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