Birthing Centre Newsletter November 2021

Newsletter November 2021



In this issue


News from our regions

   Mothers Matter campaign update



Letter from the founder 

Kia ora, talofa, kia orana, greetings to all

As the time draws close to the end of the year, we pause to reflect on the events of 2021.  We have seen the best and the worst behaviour and outcomes for our people over this continued time of fear of Covid. 

It has been how the risks have been addressed that ultimately counts in one’s experience. I am immensely proud of our teams in the Birthing Centres.  We have maintained a policy of health and safety while we have nourished, coddled and cocooned, with education, support, and attention to the mental and physical well-being of our Mamas and Tane while they bond with their new babies. This has required an extraordinary commitment on the part of our midwives, MCA’s and support people. They have not just ‘done their job’, they have selflessly put the well-being of their Mamas first. Lockdown for us did not change our philosophy of humanitarian care. 

The Whangai Ora Milk Bank we helped found and continue to support has grown from strength to strength. Mother to mother,  building relationships, ties that bind. Nothing sits in a silo, everything has the potential to grow individuals and communities. Whangai Ora bears witness to that. 

The closing of Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre in Lower Hutt is a tragic loss to the Mamas, whanau, and midwives of the region.  Count the cost in finances, and bureaucratic time wastage before you finally experience a service and environment such as Te Awakairangi. A massive thanks to MP Chris Bishop who has always fought for the rights of women, for the care and respect they deserve. He and the parents led a powerful plea to LHDHB and the government, but again, they turned away. 

I would like to express gratitude to MP Jan Tinetti - Minister for Women, Fiona Proudlock, and Sarah Pallet MP for Ilam, Christchurch, for investing the time to meet with us to understand and take to Caucus our initiative in birthing centre philosophy and work with Mothers Matter. Sarah, an ex LMC, recognises the importance of care antenatally and 4th-trimester support in line with our Mothers Matter campaign. Her experience positions her a step away from the ‘ivory tower’ advisory committees to the flax roots of mother’s support. We look forward to continuing our work with Sarah, Jan, and the government. 

Our dire shortage of midwives looks to be further threatened with the mandate of ‘no jab, no job.’ 

A personal full transparency opinion piece:

As everyone who has had any connection to the philosophy of Birthing Centres is aware – we believe in choice.  

I will never forget the fear on my mother’s and father’s faces when, as an eight-year-old, in the middle of the night I watched them bundle my ten-year-old brother into the car. “Go back to bed” mum said. His red dressing gown was the last I saw. My seven other siblings remained asleep. He came home a couple of weeks later, our mischief-making never felt so good. Polio was a disabler or worse. 

I would average, maybe, one glass of wine a week over a year. I have never smoked or used harmful substances. Our diet is very healthy. Would I take the vaccine? Hell yes. Am I worried about being ‘blown up' by government or microchipped? I am not that important. Am I worried about the growing control by the government in all aspects of my and your lives? Hell yes. 

What worries me the most is the polarization of our people.  The vitriol and keyboard coward attacks on people. We may lose some health care and teaching professionals who are determined to reject Covid vaccination but worse, we will lose our Mamas choice, our children’s education resource, as well as all those who work in industries that bring us the goods to live. 

When we look at the polarization that is invading our speech and action towards others who have a different view all I ask is that we reflect – does more poison come out of your mouth than, as you may believe, goes in through a tiny pinprick in your arm?

I pray, may your choices be for the benefit of all.

Arohanui, Ia manuia, love to all,

Chloe  ❤️

Chloe Wright

News from our Centres


"2020 and 2021 have been challenging to say the least on us all, however, Bethlehem and Nga Hau remain the same safe havens for wahine and pepi that they were designed for" - Alex, Centre Manager.

We know from our community that these lockdown times are stressful. With so much uncertainty during Covid Bethlehem thrives on the fact that it remains a place where women can birth and rest so that their experience is one of empowerment and peace. A time that that is so crucial for setting up strong beginnings for mama, pepi and whanau. This is exactly what our purpose-built facilities were designed for, for example during Covid restrictions we love having a policy of having partners stay 24/7.  Alex tells us that "we know from last year the detrimental effects on wahine mental health due to separation from whanau and partners during the birthing and postnatal period".

The birthing centre philosophy ensures that we do our best to withstand the negative implications of Covid restrictions at our centre.  Alex further explains that what they are doing is making a difference, "Wāhine have fed back to us that they actually enjoyed the lockdown, in their own private little bubble with their pepi and partner, getting to know each other and building the foundations of family life, without the distractions, interruption and pressure that visitors bring". 
As with Nga Hau, having babies born that are close to the birthing centre whanau is even more joyous. "It was my own privilege to be present during the arrival of Jackson Wright, Chloe’s youngest grandchild, to son Ollie and daughter in law Kylie (pictured across), during level 4. A calm a beautiful birth at Bethlehem while Fleetwood Mac played quietly in the background" Alex tells us.  Alex felt truly privileged to work with Kylie and Ollie "their children are very lucky indeed to have such devoted and loving parents".
Recently Alex's quick wit was put to the test by comedian Ben Hurley who visited the centre to investigate an increase in birth numbers during the months of August 2021. Have a look at this piece from Seven Sharp for a giggle. We take our hats off to Alex for holding herself together during Ben's questions.  

Due to the ongoing Covid restrictions, we have been unable to offer tours of our centre. Click here to take a look at one of our centres for a virtual visit.
We loved our stay, with yummy food and attentive staff and the peace that lockdown brought "- Kylie  

Ngā Hau Māngere 

Fakaalofa lahi atu!

It was Niuean Language Week this past October and of course, this celebration of the Niuean Language was embraced at the Nga Hau birthing centre.

With the Auckland community in lockdown since 17 August 2021, no other community in Aotearoa New Zealand have been so harshly affected as the Auckland community. This has meant a significant increase in the load that all at Nga Hau manage on a daily basis. Clinical manager Tish tells us "we are all trying to buoy each other up". As we know the team at Nga Hau and the whole south Auckland community are close-knit and highly resilient. They come together in times of hardship and go above and beyond to improve the wellbeing of their community. 

Throughout this challenging time of Covid, the whole team at Nga Hau continue to provide a safe and loving haven for mamas and their whanau.

Of course, too, there are so many moments of joy in our birthing centres and Covid does not get in the way of these. Tish relays a joyous event at Nga Hau of late being "the birth of a baby girl, Namari, to one of our LMC’s Symone McCormick and her partner Demetrius, this being Symone's second birth at NHBC, the 3rd addition to siblings Scarlett and Devonte" (pictured across). 

Tish and the team at NHBC were very grateful to receive a special acknowledgment from management for their mahi during these times, "we are very thankful indeed" reflects Tish.

Due to the ongoing Covid restrictions, we have been unable to offer tours of our centre. Click here to take a look at one of our centres for a virtual visit.

"Amazing service, fabulous hospitality, warm, friendly and welcoming" 
- Mabel


Liora's corner

Providing a village every Tuesday 

"We sat and chatted, connections were made, and we all left feeling stronger and better" - Liora

The Milk Cafe at Te Awakairangi is still open every Tuesday morning, to offer support for our mamas in the Hutt. The loss as a result of the closing of Te Awakairangi birthing centre has been deeply felt in the area, Liora tells us that "It is an eery and sad feeling, to come every Tuesday and see the closed doors of the birthing centre. I miss seeing Angela’s smile at the reception and hearing all about the new babies born that week". 

Liora knows however of the importance now more than ever for her breastfeeding support for this under-resourced community. Liora tells us that while the community sadly continues "to watch the existing support constantly decrease" amidst incredible community effort to protect these communities resources. Liora is determined to withstand this and continues to provide her service every Tuesday. This Tuesday community service is not just about breastfeeding but also about "providing a beautiful warm space for families to come together and create their village; their much needed support network". What could be more important during our current Covid challenges?
The absolute joy Liora receives from her work is easy to see, Liora knows that providing education and support to Mamas at the beginning of their motherhood journey can be life-changing. Her work takes her from a "...3-day old baby that needed support latching, a 3-week old whose mum wanted to learn how to breastfeed lying down, a 9-week old that was having issues with a very strong flow for his mum, a 9-month old whose mum is going back to work and needed a plan, and a 4-month old that is refusing the breast". This work is proudly supported by the Wright Family Foundation, Liora is thankful to Chloe "for continuing her amazing support and not giving up!".

Liora Noy is an RN, Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with 13 years of experience supporting breastfeeding mothers.

Mothers Matter update
mothers matter logoMothers Matter continues to advocate for policy change for the funding to follows women's choice and needs. As we have seen from the closure of Te Awakairangi birthing centre and from the stories we hear from mamas and whanau every week, the situation is not improving. We know that we are living in an unprecedented time, one where levels of anxiety and stress are skyrocketing. Our families are juggling a many loads more than ever, our health system is under pressure more than ever and our minds are overloaded with information.
It is these times that show us just how much we desperately need a maternal health system that provides women and their whanau with a gold standard of health care during their perinatal journey. We have been following the work underway in the UK as part of their National Maternity Review’s report, 'Better Births' published in 2016. This report offered a transformational change to their Maternal Health system. According to AIMS - Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services, in the five years on little progress has been made. We can look to this lack of progress in the NHS and decide here in New Zealand that we can do better. Our recent meeting with the office of MP Jan Tinetti and MP Sarah Pallet has provided us with the hope that we will not follow this fate, we look forward to continuing our work together. 

  • In the Media: We continue to shine a light on those affected by our inadequate maternal health system. Hearing from those on the ground is absolutely fundamental to our campaign work. We launched the first full-page print ads of our current media series across the nation on October 27th. A copy of this ad can be viewed here

You can continue to become involved by wearing a red flag badge (contact us to order), or by adding a frame to your social media profile and by writing to your local MP.

We are passionate about listening to mamas and our communities across the country, this is fundamental to informing our campaign. While the government so far fails to enact meaningful change, we continue to lobby for our mothers across the country. Click here to see the Mothers Matter short film. 

We would love to hear your thoughts, please reach out via our website if you have any queries or would like to be more active with our campaign , Facebook page and Instagram page

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. 

Find us online

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

“We do not survive by being the fittest, we survive by being nurtured”.  
Adapted from Louis Cozolino



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PO Box 13 465 Tauranga Central 3141




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