Birthing Centre Newsletter May 2021

Newsletter May 2021






In this issue



International Day of the Midwife

Meet Anna Berry



Letter from the founder 

Kia ora,

Dear all,
What an exciting time we are experiencing in our world of the Birthing Centres.
We are thrilled to let you all know, that Whangai Ora Milk Bank, serving the women of the Manawatū will have its official launch in Palmerston North on the 19th of May. The kitchen at Te Papaoiea birthing centre is at their disposal.  Jacquie Nutt, Lactation consultant and social entrepreneur, a woman with a vision will be there with her team along with members of Central DHB and politicians to attend this official launch. It has the possibility to grow beyond those borders. It is a dream come true. In just a few short months, with the support of MCDHB, the local community, and philanthropy,  it has gone from strength to strength. Great things can happen when a group of totally committed people come together to form a committed team.  It is about community, working together for the best long-term outcomes for our women and families.

Bethlehem Birthing Centre has widened its reach into the community by becoming a hub of wellness for women. We are absolutely dedicated to connecting women through our popular antenatal classes to our post-birth experience for women. When ‘the wait is over and our babies lay snuggled in our arms, keeping us awake, can be the time when we women most need the support and companionship of others. Those who understand the massive changes that are occurring in our physical bodies and, often great confusion in our thinking. This is where we are opening our doors and hearts to keep women connected and we really appreciate knowing ways we can improve these free services.

Ngā  Hau Birthing Centre is not only the centre of choice for women in South Auckland it has a unique cultural mandate for drawing in the community to a hub of care and celebration of life’s very special moments. Although it is five hours driving, each day I travel there, I feel privileged to be there. At the end of the day, I feel uplifted and elated by this blessed environment. All those who visit there sense the value this place has for birthing and/or postnatal care for women of the area. Successive Ministers of Health have been too busy to visit, as have all but one member of the CMDHB Board. We recognize how busy our Prime Minister must be, but it has been two years now of declined invitations. Women only constitute about 50% of the population and mothers less than 50%. But women are the greatest influencers in society so don’t you, who feel abandoned, ever forget that. You, and your voice counts.

Te Awakairangi Birthing Center, Lower Hutt continues to feel the rejection of CC&LHDHB refusal to support this centre where so many mothers have birthed and left feeling refreshed and cared for in a way that midwifery has been trained for. I am so proud of our teams who have stayed true to the art and science of midwifery. We may not know their names, but our team feel the pain of mothers when far too often these hospitals go into Code Red and Code Black. We have the stats. We understand what this can mean for birthing mothers, the day that should be so special and the care that is so critical for rest, recuperation, attachment and education is snatched away by a system that cannot cope. We are just down the road. When is humanity going to override fiscal numbers? Women, you have a legal right to at least 48 hours of postnatal care. Stay in your bed. LHDHB maternity was given 9.4 million dollars to make these improvements. Where is it? How did that money help you?  

In January 2020, the Government announced $9.4m for Hutt maternity, for which they were required to submit a business case.  They spent $41,535 developing the business case which was submitted in September 2020. As of 23 November 2020, the funds had not yet been released by the Government to the DHB. To date, there is no evidence that any actual building work has been commenced. We are just down the road!

Mothers matter to us. The ‘Mothers Matter’ campaign matters to thousands of women and men who have recognized the need for honesty and transparency, the reality of so many lives that are being treated as collateral damage, that are brushed under the rug with platitudes about huge amounts of money put aside for their well-being. But where is the money? This is what the carers at ground zero are asking. Science, research, narrative, has been available for so long now and never more vocally expressed. The decision-makers are too busy to listen. Oh, I am informed they may get back to us in due course, it is way past due course. But hey, follow them on Facebook and see all the caring smiling faces.

I was held spellbound by Anne Sharplin on International Day of the Midwife who infused me with a desire to learn about Helene Donnelly, a nurse advocate for women. How fortunate that we have a mine of information to be found in Google. Talk about déjà vu!  Donnelly said she faced criticism from some of her colleagues for speaking out and was warned to “watch her back”.

After seven years of taking the sting of poisoned arrows, it is time I spoke out. It is not ok to bully, threaten, or cast aspersions on my integrity or purpose. So, to be crystal clear: As a mother and grandmother, I became aware of the degradation of care and support our mothers received at birth. That is to say, the time of hospital or facility stay, the nurture, education, and health checks had been severely eroded over the years. It was clear to me that it was not right or healthy for the long-term effects this could have on mothers and families. I grew to admire and love the practice of midwifery. I recognize it as an art, a science, carrying a level of pastoral care that is exceptional in our western medical model of care. I have advocated for midwifery for quite some years now. Some midwives have chosen to make spurious claims that have been passed on through closed midwives Facebook, word of mouth etc. They have deeply wounded me. For the sake of our mothers and a well society, I have taken the blows.

So, let me be very clear: I have done this to demonstrate to the government, through DHBs, and now directly to the government that policy must reflect the needs and choice of women’s health. The birthing centres are a charity, born from social enterprise. Should any ever financially break even, as a charity, the funds must return to the centre and it would be my intention to direct those funds to further education for midwives. I receive no salary and never have. To those well-poisoners who either deliberately or ignorantly say “she is in it for the money,” you may be projecting your own way of being on to me. To those whose lives have been made bitter consider who it is you serve? Our mothers, or yourself? To those who listen and repeat the words of these keyboard cowards, please encourage them to talk directly to me. You who speak evil, compromise the future of midwifery and the care of mothers.

If midwifery is to be sustained and to flourish as it should and must be for the sake of our mothers, shouldn’t we support each other? Whether you be LMC, DHB employee, or primary facility midwife, shouldn’t we join in the elevation of this profession? Put your name to your passion, be prepared to stand alone if you must, and remain true. The future of midwifery hangs in the balance.

                               “Courage starts with showing up 
                                   and letting yourself be seen” Brene Brown

May your lives and those lives you touch be filled with joy and purpose.


Chloe  ❤️
Chloe Wright



May 5th - International Day of the Midwife

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) coordinated the celebration of this year’s International Day of the Midwife (IDM) on 5th May 2021, with the theme of 'Follow the Data: Invest in Midwives'. We know that 'Investing in midwives means investing in women'.

The release of this month's May 2021 report 'The State of the World's Midwifery 2021' produced by UNFPA, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Novametrics, further compounds these statistics, showing us how essential key investment is in Midwifery. Read the report summary here.

According to the report, "There is now a large body of evidence which shows that investing in midwives facilitates positive birth experiences and safe and effective comprehensive abortion services, improves health outcomes, increases workforce supply, favours inclusive and equitable growth, facilitates economic stabilization, and can have a positive macroeconomic impact.

The report (follow the link for the report's summary) makes for excellent informative reading along with the linked article from Forbes magazine outlining the key details of the report, read here.

Our centres celebrated this meaningful day with delicious kai, beautiful artwork from local tamariki as well as some gorgeous gifts, and by taking a well-deserved moment to reflect on the work they do each and every day. 

Ka pai tō mahi to all our wonderful wise midwives. Take a look at the beautiful photos from our centres. 


 Nga Hau Mangere 


 Nga Hau Mangere 


Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt


Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt


Bethlehem Birthing Centre


Bethlehem Birthing Centre




Anna Berry 

Anna is a Wellington-based midwife who is thriving in her switch from tertiary care to primary care at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre.

Anna was initially working at Wellington Regional hospital when she decided to make the transition from tertiary care to primary care at Te Awakairangi birthing centre at Lower Hutt.

Moving to primary care has been something that Anna describes adoring this change, Anna feels herself "bloom in new ways in her practice", fulfilling professional goals of her passion of working with mothers and their children in " such a women-centred and nurturing community". Her practice as a midwife is something that Anna aspires to be a force for good, impacting areas she loves such as breastfeeding issues and education as well as mothercraft guidance. 

Annas passion and drive for excellent midwifery practices shine through, she looks forward to continuing to get to know the "talented" LMCS in the Lower Hutt area


News from our Centres

Bethlehem Wellness Quarterly Hui Launch

The Quarterly Hui is an event held quarterly at Bethlehem Birthing Centre, for holistic women’s health care providers in collaboration with 'Honouring Mamas' and 'True Colours'.

'Honoring Mamas' provide honouring ceremonies, postnatal care as well as parenting support and 'True Colours'  is a local service providing postnatal depression support. 

This Hui links providers and establishes a directory for LMC’s and Mothers of services available in their area. This thorough directory Includes naturopaths, hypnobirthing, acupuncturists, life coaching, massage therapists, birth trauma counselling, counselling, doulas, postnatal doula, herbalists, osteopaths, physio, chiropractors, kinesiologists, postnatal depression support, to name just a few. 

Alex, Bethlehem Birthing Centre Manager describes this quarterly hui as "...a fabulous way for her to network with these providers and then, in turn, be able to offer increased referral and support to both LMC's and Mama".

Bethlehem Celebrates a Surprise Engagement

Bethlehem Birthing Centre held a surprise engagement party for one of their fabulous Midwives Gemma Kurt and her fiancé Aaron.

Gemma is a much-loved member of the centres mahi whanau and so the team were very excited to celebrate with her. 

After the much-awaited engagement announcement, all of the team surprised her when they saw her with party poppers giving her lots of frights and giggles. Then, on Friday evening, a surprise pot luck dinner was held and Gemma was gifted a beautiful resin art platter.  The whole team sends huge congrats to Gemma and Aaron.


Nga Hau Mangere 

Nga Hau Launches the 'Pepi Village' 
 After lots of planning at Nga Hau, there is an exciting new weekly coffee group with delicious kai.
 The 'Pepi Village' will be starting at the Birthing Centre every Thursday from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm

Staff at the centre look forward to seeing mothers with young babies come along to get to connect, where there will be staff on hand to provide breastfeeding advice. 

Open Day and Raffle 

Nga Hau Centre Manager Tish and all staff are busy preparing for their upcoming Open Day, on May 22nd, Saturday, 10 am - 2 pm.

This muchly anticipated celebration is a shared celebration of their two year anniversary and the opportunity to host an open day to welcome the whole community.

The team are taking this moment of celebration to fundraise for an essential piece of equipment, a new Cardiotocography (CTG) machine for the centre, there are some beautiful hampers to be won, including one basket for a baby girl; one baby boy and the other, a luscious pampering hamper for mum.

Tickets are on sale now, so pop into the centre to be in with a chance to win!

Here is a glimpse of some of the activities on offer:

  • Birthing Centre tours 
  • food stalls (outside)
  • massage sessions (inside)
  • henna on hands & belly (inside)
  • light entertainment (including a bouncy castle)
  • information stalls



Te Awakairangi

International Day of the Midwife Celebrations

Staff at the Te Awakairangi enjoyed a wonderful celebration for International Day of the Midwife, staff celebrated alongside LMC's meeting last week. The group enjoyed a shared meal which all contributed and were delighted to be treated with a cake from the local Parents Centre and other goodies from the Hutt Maternity Action Group.  Deb from the centre so happily explained that it ended up being "quite a celebratory feast!". As well as delicious kai the centre was gifted was acknowledged with a gift basket from the local region of the New Zealand College of Midwives and another from WellKiwis Influenza Study. What a lovely fulfilled celebration!


Other News 


Te Papaioea Primary Birthing Centre has featured in the news this month due to its forced closure as a result of the Ministry of Health's refusal to fund this service and come on board. The birthing centre in the Manawatū area provides a service that follows mothers choice, a place to provide equitable birthing care. Palmerston North DHB has commended Chloe Wright for her continued voice for this centre. The article by journalist Janine Rankin can be read here 

Mothers Matter continues to lobby the Government and is currently continuing to wait for an overdue response from Minister Andrew Little.

In the meantime, we continue to ‘Raise the Red Flag’ campaigning for policy change to provide equitable perinatal care across New Zealand.

Keep an eye out for advertisements for our powerful film Who Holds Our Mothers? mentioned in our last newsletter. This ad will be running again from May 9th - May 17th. There will be a total of 78 ads ranging from 45 - 60 second advertisements, screening on  TV channels Choice, Discovery, Prime, Living, TVNZ1 and N+.

You can continue to support or get involved in the campaign by wearing a badge, adding a frame to your Facebook profile, or writing to your local MP. Find out more on the Mothers Matter website and Facebook page.

Click here to see the Mothers Matter short film. Warning: Some viewers may find this content distressing due to themes of violence and suicide. These themes whilst confronting must be faced to ensure we bring these experiences to light. We must have this overdue societal discussion and demand better for our Mothers. 



Our website,, is an excellent source of information for anyone who wants to find out more about primary birthing, our philosophy and our 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:
Ngā Hau Māngere Birthing Centre:

Bethlehem Birthing Centre is now on Instagram too, you can follow us on #bethlehembirthingcentre


Quote of the day

“The wisdom and compassion a woman can intuitively experience in childbirth can make her a source of healing and understanding for other women." —Stephen Gaskin



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




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