Birthing Centre Newsletter July 2021

Newsletter July 2021

Birthing Centre Newsletter | July 2021




In this issue


News from our regions

   Meet Hikiloto Togiavale


Letter from the founder 

Kia ora,

Kia ora, Talofa, Kia orana, Greetings to all,

One of the most memorable heart-warming and humbling days in my seven years of this bold, brash, vision to create a model for birthing and post-natal care of our mothers occurred this past May 22nd.

Nga Hau Birthing Centre, under the umbrella of CMM Tish Taihia, Chantal, and the team past and present, held an Open Day in our centre, grounds, and carpark. It was an outstanding success. The Pasifika drummers, dancers, singers, entertainment, and many food stalls along with a brilliant MC Dom Leauga kept the throng entertained with speakers, entertainers, and competitions. Our team, past and present, volunteered their time, cooking, set up and clean up. It was a fun-filled affair with the community turning out in force to support the fund-raiser for a new Cardiotocography (CTG) machine. A $20,000 machine that we would have found the money for but no, the team wanted to show how much they valued what they had for this community. Where else does this happen in this field!!

Conspicuously absent were any Board members from Counties Manukau or any political figure. Still, we continue to exist with zero funding or engagement from the DHB, Ministry of Health with no visit to this centre by the PM. It is a disgrace. However, those present at the open day, were genuine people of heart, empathy, who put their actions where their mouths are. I cannot claim it was we, it was they who chose this path and raised a good amount of funds from a massive amount of work. Then along came Sylvia and Ken Taylor. Sylvia had been up all night, finishing beautiful wool blankets for our Pepe. Before you know it, she had approached the Board of the Mangere Market Trust and we had all the funds for the new CTG machine. This is a community that is right behind their Mama and Pepe.

Bethlehem Birthing Centre continues to flourish with a continuing stream of ideas and implementation of wrap-around services. Led by CMM Alex, our team is encouraged to bring their ideas to the table. BOPDHB continue to grow their support of the primary unit, particularly in recognizing the care we are able to give our Mama and Pepe post-birth.

Te Awakairangi continues to struggle against a lack of meaningful engagement with LHCCDHB when the DHB have so often gone into Code Red and Code Black. Not even an agreement for funding for service is on the table. It is not rocket science but is proof positive that the rights of our Mamas are regularly trampled on and respect for the role and care of midwives is undervalued. For over seven years this has been and continues to be a deeply emotional journey. We have shown our teams how we value them by paying their (practically doubled, why?) certification fees. Paying for MCA training, plus several educational opportunities when MCC’s have asked. We have been known to have one or two mothers in a week, with their own LMC, fully staffed, supported and encouraged community celebrations.

Our ethos has always been to ‘put mothers centre to society’ at the beginning of life, during pregnancy and for the birthing centre, giving Mamas the best experience for birth and post-birth care. Notwithstanding the evidence, the government continues to be in denial, their lack of meaningful urgent action is putting our Mamas and children at risk of long-term mental health issues. We went down this path to create a picture for those in power of what should be on offer for our Mamas, but they have shown no interest in this art.

Te Papaioea through Midcentral DHB has attempted to create a gold standard of care for our Mamas and whanau. We/they relied on the long vision of a midwifery-led centre. Midwives past hung on to their dream of no longer being ‘handmaidens’ to doctors. They fought for their recognition. Who did they do it for, if not for the mothers? Where are these midwives now?

A midwife contacted me this week to ask if we would consider opening a facility in another area of the country. The Mamas there are not getting the support needed (now an old story), I told her the difficulties of having no funding, lack of midwives, and lack of support from those who direct midwives. She was young, but still, she lamented the conversation of those who speak for midwives. She and many others believe the first narrative should be about the exceptional partnerships between midwife and mother, the rest will follow. I am only a mother who had a vision to create a better future for our mothers, the narrative needs to focus on the mother’s wellbeing.

We can decide to be part of the solution or part of the problem. But for me, mothers will always be the centre.
Arohanui, Ia manuia,

Chloe  ❤️
Chloe Wright


Hikiloto Togiavale

Hikiloto, a part of the original Ngā Hau team since the doors opened there two years ago.

Ngā Hau Birthing Centre would like to introduce you to one of our brilliant team of Support Workers, Hikiloto Togiavale. Hikiloto hails from the beautiful South Pacific island sanctuary of Niue or otherwise known as ‘The Rock’. 

She arrived in New Zealand in 1983, and besides raising her family of five children, she worked for many years in the hotel industry, as a room attendant and housekeeping supervisor before being one of the first to be recruited when Ngā Hau opened its doors for service two years ago.

Hikiloto has not regretted changing roles to become a Support Worker, as it has been a great experience for her to work within a birthing centre and witness a birth - on the odd occasion. Her previous skillset means that she always ensures a high standard of housekeeping and excellent customer service.  As well as being a nana of five and a dependable team member, Hikiloto enjoys reading, walking and ‘time-alone-for reflection’.


News from our Centres


Bethlehem celebrates a special birthday

Bethlehem Birthing Centre celebrated the big birthday of one of their core Midwives Kay Pettersson. Chloe alongside the birthing centre team joined LMC’s and family at Trinity Warf in Tauranga overlooking the harbour, with a lovely lunch and cocktails. 

Kay has been a valued member of the team at Bethlehem for the past 6 years and is well known in the community for her kind, compassionate and family-focused care. 

She is adored by our team as ‘camp mother’ and brings with her kindness and a great sense of fun.
Happy birthday Kay and thank you so much for the warmth and dedication you bring to our mahi whānau.

"I had the most amazing stay. I felt like i was on holiday in a 5 star resort. I have been well supported, the staff are lovely and caring and love that dads are able to stay. Would highly recommend Bethlehem Birthing Centre to anyone" - Chantal 


Ngā Hau Māngere 

News from the 'Pēpi Village'

The Pēpi Village is a group of recently birthed Mama’s who have now been attending the birthing centre every Thursday morning since the 6th of May. The sessions are run by midwife/LC Joan Miller and consumer helper, Gabrielle Taihia (Tish's daughter). These sessions provide a space that is warm and welcoming, where Mums can ask questions about breastfeeding, baby massage and socialise together.

Ngā Hau has enjoyed having Good Seeds Super Gran's members Chrissie Ikiua and Yvonne Lovatt attend recently to share their knitting and crocheting skills. Clinical Midwife Manager Tish at Ngā Hau expressed her gratitude to the Good Seeds SuperGrans, who donated their beautiful knitwear  " we are very grateful to this organisation who have also kindly donated their beautiful knitwear for the Ngā Hau BC pepi’s".

Fundraising Update
The team and Lead Maternity Carers (LMC’s) at Ngā Hau Birthing Centre are thrilled to announce that through our fundraising efforts and the generosity of a substantial grant from the Māngere Markets Committee, they were able to purchase the Huntleigh TEAM3 ANSB, top of the range CTG for the centre.
LMC’s are very happy as this will enable:
- Women to have a more accurate fetal well-being assessment in the primary setting.
- Midwives to have better pick-up and less manoeuvring of the monitor when finding the fetal heart for women with higher BMI’s.

Ngā Hau Birthing Centre would like to again send a huge 'THANK YOU' to the Māngere Markets Committee.

"A really great experience at Ngā Hau, beautiful facilities and peaceful private environment, always help available when needed be, not in your face too mate. Really amazing experience here" - Odelia 


Te Awakairangi 

Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre has welcomed several new staff members over the past couple of months. A warm welcome to midwives Linda Geel and Kerry Fitzsimons, who are commencing next month, alongside support worker/maternity care assistants Karen Judd, Lili Tse, Kizzi Metcalfe and Azalea Minarapa.

Staff at Te Awakairangi are enjoying seeing more students across all years doing shifts and working with LMC midwives.  Deb and Eleanor (CMM's) are both enthusiastic about this opportunity noting it being" fabulous to support them (students) to learn about the physiological birth philosophy and the importance of excellent postnatal care".

 The Oxytocin Squad continues to support the staff and LMC's with regular drop-offs of delicious baking. This is such a lovely way to nurture the Birthing Centre staff and is much appreciated.

News from Liora Noy at Lower Hutt

The Lower Hutt community will soon enjoy the specialist knowledge of Liora Noy with the upcoming free breastfeeding classes she will be facilitating. Liora is an RN, Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), who has over 13 years of experience supporting breastfeeding mothers.

These practical, friendly and easy-going classes, which will be held at Te Awakairangi Birthing centre will cover everything new Mamas may be wondering about with each session having plenty of time for questions. These classes have been made free to the public through the support and funding from the Wright Family Foundation.

Here are just some of the topics that Liora will be covering in these classes:

➡ Why breastfeed? How long to breastfeed?
➡ How does your body make milk
➡ Recognizing hunger cues
➡ How to know if your baby is getting enough
➡ How to achieve a deep latch, practising different positions
➡ Common challenges and how to manage them
➡ How to achieve a deep latch, practising different positions

"I had the most amazing help with breastfeeding from Jo at Te Awakairangi which made me feel very confident going home" - Dani

Mothers Matter update

Mothers Matter is continuing its fight to raise awareness of the need for better maternal care for our women. Mothers currently have a right to at least 48 hours of post-birth care in the hospital facility but are often not receiving it because of overloaded maternity units. This right to care must be made known to women. The first few days post-birth are crucial to both mother and babies, we know this is the most vulnerable time for them.

Science also irrefutably tells us that supporting a woman's full range of needs during the perinatal experience, drastically improves the long-term outcomes for their children. These improvements are expressed through a secure and well-adjusted child to life, one who can successfully engage in society, with fewer challenges to overcome. Thus, it is with the evidence of science, that this government should be motivated to provide the demands we are calling for - a ring-fenced fund that gives a mother choice about where she receives her care. This should include the necessary wraparound services to meet her medical and wellbeing needs.

Providing benefits not only so that our birthing women flourish but also for flourishing future generations and ultimately our country.

 Mothers Matter is increasing in its momentum, we are connecting nationally with women and organisations to hear their voices and more importantly raise our voices together. Be sure to continue to keep an eye out on TV for our latest round of advertisements of our powerful short film Who Holds Our Mothers?  and lookout for our 'red flags'.

You can continue to support or become involved by wearing a red flag badge (contact us to order some), adding a frame to your social media profile, or writing to your local MP. Find out more on the Mothers Matter website.  Please reach out via our website if you have any queries or would like to be more active with this crucial campaign 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. 


You can find previous issues of our newsletter here.

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

Bethlehem Birthing Centre is also on Instagram, you can follow us @bethlehembirthingcentre


Quote of the day

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.”

– Oscar Wilde



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PO Box 13 465 Tauranga Central 3141

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