Birthing Centre Newsletter September 2020

Newsletter September 2020

Birthing Centre Newsletter | September 2020

In this issue

Te Papaioea Birthing Centre handed over to MidCentral DHB

Meet Courtney Judd


Letter from the founder 

Kia ora,

Sometimes we need to stop and recognise how fortunate we are to be touched by great people. I refer to the death of Dr Joe Williams, the much-decorated former Cook Islands Prime Minister and Patron of the Pasifika Medical Association and his services to the Cook Islands’ community. There are those who are here for a reason and a season; Dr Joe was here for his lifetime. There was no “I don’t work there anymore” for this man.
In one of those moments when I felt the struggle was too hard, I heard him say, “If you have a dream, don’t give up, pursue it until it becomes a reality”. Dr Joe, your spirit will continue in the lives you have touched and in those you loved and who loved you in return. Go well.
Talking about the dream, I am beyond excited that we have now had our ceremonial handover of Te Papaioea Birthing Centre to the MidCentral DHB. Technically, our partnership began at the beginning of April but due to COVID-19 we had to put off the blessing ceremony until this week.

The ceremony arranged by MidCentral DHB was the most joyful and humbling experience I can recall in a long time. From the DHB boardroom powhiri led by cultural competency and tikanga facilitator Huataki Whareaitu, the songs of Pae Ora Paiaka Whaiora Hauora Māori, to the final celebration at Te Papaioea, we all shared the euphoria of what is possible for our families of Aotearoa when government bodies and the community work together. I salute those with a vision that has now become a reality.
With the Memorandum of Understanding between MidCentral DHB and the Wright Family Foundation we have certainty of the rooms being kept intact for the best delivery of care and support to parents. Whereas we were only averaging 20 births and postnatal stays per month fully staffed 24/7, the DHB is now not only having the primary births with postnatal care, but many more families are able to experience those critical days of care and bonding for parents, including mothers who have had C-section births.
I had always believed that the practice of midwifery was to bring best practice and service to all pregnant women, particularly those most vulnerable - at-risk women and their families. This is the philosophy of Birthing Centre and I am confident the DHB’s service will welcome all into this sanctuary.
Our wraparound services continue to flourish, with discussions being held by the Wright Family Foundation, MidCentral DHB, and community interests to form a Milk Bank that, in time, may spread throughout the North Island. It is kindness personified when mothers come forward and want to share their precious milk with others who have limited supply. More to follow.
And if that isn’t enough, at last a political party has put out a comprehensive, targeted policy on the first 1000 days! Funded gynaecological checks during pregnancy and post-birth! After recently attending a perinatal conference, talking to many women and looking at the statistics that clearly show the intolerable numbers of women suffering from pelvic floor issues, I know this will be a game changer for so many women and their families.
The policy also provides for a three-day post-birth stay, which is wonderful because I am often told about breastfeeding issues that aren’t resolved because women are not supported for the time it may take to latch correctly. Looking closely at the first 1000 days policy, it feels like Mothers Matter’s dreams are at last being listened to.
On a last and personal note, Wayne and I sat in on the scan of our son and partner’s first child. It felt like the universe is within the womb of women. At 21 weeks the baby opened his/her mouth, reached a little hand up to touch his/her head, seemed to point at us, and as we turned away because the parents don’t want to know the gender until birth, my husband had a tear in his eye and whispered “how could anyone harm a baby?”. We are all here to guard life, to be the change we seek to happen.


Chloe  ❤️
Chloe Wright


Te Papaioea Birthing Centre handed over to MidCentral DHB  

Birthing Centre Founders Chloe and Wayne Wright joined MidCentral DHB officials and kaumatua at the official handover of Te Papaioea Birthing Centre.

Te Papaioea Birthing Centre in Palmerston North was officially handed over to MidCentral DHB this week with a blessing ceremony.

The DHB took over the management of the centre in April but the official handover ceremony was delayed by COVID-19.
The DHB requested a partnership with the Wright Family Foundation to give women in the region a choice to birth outside a hospital setting and another option for postnatal care.
The Foundation is continuing to fund wraparound services for the centre, such as the Milk Cafe breastfeeding support group, hearing screening, parenting programmes, and SuperGrans.
Founder of Birthing Centre and Wright Family Foundation Chloe Wright says the partnership is the gold standard of maternity and postnatal care all women of New Zealand have a right to receive.
"We all know the well-documented pressures that hospital maternity units are facing across the country," she says.
"MidCentral DHB has recognised with this partnership that the existing purpose-built primary birthing centre is part of the solution. It would be transformative if all DHBs were to follow this lead to give our mothers the maternity and postnatal care they deserve. Our next generation is in their hands.”

Read more about the handover ceremony here.

Chloe Wright and members of the Milk Bank board at the handover of Te Papaioea Birthing Centre.


Have you signed the Mothers Matter petition yet?

Birthing Centre founder Chloe Wright launched the Mothers Matter campaign to empower women and their families to make an informed choice about their postnatal care. By signing the petition you can join us in asking our country's decision-makers to put women's and babies' health and wellbeing first.

With the Government consistently refusing to engage, we were thrilled with the National Party’s ‘First 1000 Days’ policy announced last week.

It includes a $3000 credit per child for parents to purchase approved and specified services over their child's first three years. Mothers and babies with higher needs would be entitled to a further $3000 - up to $6000 in total - if needed.

National has also promised to ring-fence $16 million per annum funding to DHBs for every new mother to have a three-day postnatal stay, compared to the currently allocated 48 hours.

Chloe and fellow Mothers Matter spokesperson Dame Lesley Max were invited to present to a National Party caucus policy discussion group earlier this year. Social investment spokesperson Louise Upston says Chloe has been instrumental in influencing the policy thinking of the National Party around the first 1000 days, social investment in children’s and families’ lives, and how to prevent family harm.

“My first meeting with Mothers Matter resulted in writing the three-day stay bill and the National Party announcing it as policy. I have since met with some of the other organisations Chloe works with. She’s been heavily influential in our broader thinking around children and families.”

You may have noticed the Mothers Matter ads screening on television again during August. If you missed them, or would like to share them through your own channels, you can find all eight videos in the series here.

As well as signing our petition, we’d love you to join the conversation on our Facebook page.
We also have some exciting new projects on the go during September and October so watch this space!

Courtney Judd

If there’s a piece of kitset furniture to be assembled, or something that needs fixing at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre, support worker Courtney Judd is first in line with a screwdriver.
“If you ask me to do something, I can usually put it together,” she says.
Aside from her handywoman skills, Courtney also looks after mums and babies during their postnatal stay, including housekeeping and meal delivery, and assists with staff rostering and data entry.
Courtney has been a member of the Te Awakairangi team since the centre opened in July 2018, following a six-year career in hospitality.
“I’d always had an interest in pregnancy and maternity care and have thought about becoming a midwife. I thought this would give me an opportunity to see if I liked it first.”
Courtney is currently studying for her Health Bridging Certificate so she can work towards a career in health.
“I haven’t decided what I want to do yet but midwifery is definitely one of my options.
“I like helping new mums and making a difference in their relaxation and recuperation before they go home. I had my daughter when I was quite young and I didn’t have the most pleasant postnatal experience so it’s nice to be able to offer that, especially for young mums so they don’t feel judged.”
Clinical midwife manager Jacqui Paine says Courtney is her “ultimate wingman”.
“She has got the best ‘can-do’ attitude of anyone I have known. Her positive attitude and delightful personality is a huge asset to the Birthing Centre. She has the respect of all her colleagues and is adored by all the mums and families she cares for.”
When she’s not playing wingman to Jacqui, Courtney enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, and puzzles.
“Jigsaws, Lego, kitset furniture. I love it all!”

News from Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre

A move back to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 in Auckland in August meant a return to strict visitor restrictions, but our policy of allowing partners to stay at the centre with birthing mums was greatly appreciated. We are able to be more flexible in Alert Level ‘2.5’ but with the recent outbreak of the virus here in our community, we continue to be vigilant.
World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) was acknowledged with a poster display in our reception ‘Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet’ by support worker Jane Rauf and student midwife Sarah Amy Rhind.
Donations have been received recently for women and their whānau from several quarters, including boxes of nappies and food pouches for older children from BBM (Buttabean Motivation); a box of masks and food vouchers from Moana Research, and baby body products for all of the Birthing Centres from Helen Watson at QueenBee Pure.
And, in the midst of what can only be described as an anxious time in South Auckland, we had our staff mid-winter Christmas function in August, which had been postponed from mid-July. It’s always nice to share food in a relaxing atmosphere.

Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre was also in the news recently, with new mum Erica Patterson sharing her birthing experience here and talking about how important it was for her to have her partner stay with her during her postnatal stay. The Stuff article also addresses the centre's continued fight for support from the Counties Manukau District Health Board.

News from the world of pregnancy, birthing and midwifery

A new study by the University of Otago shows the breastfeeding hormone prolactin makes new fathers better dads.

The research, which has been published in the leading journal Cell, demonstrates that prolactin directly influences male behaviour by unlocking the paternal instinct.
Read more about the research here.

Writer Arihia Nathan has written an article for The Spinoff on how traditional Māori birthing practices can help wahine Māori find better mental health outcomes.

Read the article here.

A special webinar was held last week - ‘Emancipating Midwifery - reflecting on 30 years of midwifery autonomy’ - to mark the introduction of the legislation that led to the birth of New Zealand’s women-centred and midwifery-led maternity system. It was arguably one of the most significant milestones in the evolution of the midwifery profession in New Zealand and this country’s model is now recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the preferred one for maternity care. 

The Maternity Consumer Services Council (MCSC) also celebrated its 30th anniversary recently. MCSC promotes the rights and responsibilities of childbearing women and their maternity care providers in New Zealand. It provides free information packs about pregnancy, birthing and postnatal care, and you can sign up for a regular newsletter.

Learn more about MCSC here.

The Ministry of Health has recently updated its advice on COVID-19 and maternity care, including the use of Entonox and handling of the whenua/placenta for COVID-19 confirmed or probable women.

Read more here.

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 Awakairangi Birthing Centre at Melling:
Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre:

Quote of the day

“There is a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong.”

Laura Stavoe Harm


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