Home Bith Aotearoa


Hoatu te mana
ki a ratou kua tae mai nei ki tenei whenua
kua wheturangitia i te korowai o Ranginui,
kua hangaia i tenei tikanga hoki.
Give credit and recognition
to those who came to this land,
to those who have departed and are adorned
as stars in the heavens,
to those who built this tikanga also.

Home Birth Aotearoa

Who is Home Birth Aotearoa?

Home Birth Aotearoa is the national
collective of regional home birth groups
throughout Aotearoa

We are a creative force
Our mountain is the rise of woman’s belly, swelling with life
Our ocean, the tides of labour
Our rivers flow in birth waters, teardrops, blood and milk
Our vessel is the womb
We claim kinship with the midwife,
as she exists in all women
Our ties in the cord
bonding us above, below
and beside one another
In the making of all Mothers
We are Home Birth Aotearoa

Our Toanga

Our Taonga


We see conception, pregnancy, birth, and the making of families as valuable life events to be treasured, as taonga for us all.

Home Birth Community

Some of our most precious taonga, or treasures, are our pēpe and whānau who connect through, and maintain our regional home birth groups. The time, space and energy that they invest in support of home birth creates a valuable and positive movement in New Zealand’s birth culture.

The Vessel

Our vessel taonga was sculpted by the home birth women of Whangarei, with the guidance and wisdom of Hana Easton. This sculpture is used at gatherings in what has become a traditional opening and closing ceremony for Home Birth Aotearoa hui.
Home Birth

Our Waiata

The singing of waiata is an important part of the gathering we do together. Our traditionally most loved song is Te Aroha.

Te Aroha
Te Whakapono
Te Rangimarie
Tatou tatou e
Be amongst us all!



Our kowhaiwhai, gifted by Karuna Thurlow is a beautiful representation which
expresses, through image, the layers and connections that exist physically and
metaphysically during conception, pregnancy and birth. The curves of the design
represent the life-giving curves of Papatuanuku which are also present in all women.
The circles within the kowhaiwhai patterning represent stages of development of the
pēpe in womb, as well as the circles of the breast, which nurtures the baby once they
are born. The vertical line speaks to the link between the Mother and Father’s heritage,
which culminates at the belly and foetus.

Home Birth Aotearoa Trust

Home Birth Aotearoa Trust

The Home Birth Aotearoa Trust (HBAT) is a charitable trust, formed in 2007 and consists of a board of eight elected trustees who invest in their regional home birth groups as well as in HBA/HBAT. HBAT holds the kaupapa or spirit of the home birth movement in Aotearoa New Zealand by representing the collective interests of New Zealand’s volunteer-led regional home birth support groups and associations.

HBA holds the National Home Birth Coordination Contract with the Ministry of Health and the Trust Board applies this contract by initiating opportunities for regional groups to invest in national level movement – with the aim to create a wider impact for positive promotion of home birth in New Zealand. Regional and national hui are held annually to strengthen bonds, create collective vision and build momentum and strategy towards that vision.

Our tūmanakotanga

  • That home is recognised and promoted as an option for for birth, for the majority of NZ women
  • To increase the number of New Zealand women choosing to birth at home
  • To have a strong and flourishing network of active home birth groups throughout Aotearoa
  • To have input into maternity strategy and policy making, to enable empowering birth experiences and healthy, thriving families.
  • To implement and uphold Te Tiriti O Waitangi and all its articles within our mahi. To remain committed to genuine partnership with tangata whenua within our mahi and robust reflection upon this commitment on a regular basis.

Our Mahi

We support and celebrate home birth, and provide birthing women and whanau with information about the home birth option.

Home Birth Aotearoa is committed to honouring and upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi and tino rangatiratanga for all families and whanau.

The Trust was formed to enable collective accountability and sustainability of a national home birth organisation via a legally recognised entity.

National Hui are convened annually throughout the country, and the trust supports annual pod hui throughout Aotearoa annually

A conference is hosted biennially (every two years) by a regional association

The activities of Home Birth Aotearoa Trust also include at this time, the delivery of the National Home Birth Coordination contract for the Ministry of Health, promoting and coordinating home birth activities at a national level.

To see our Trust Deed document and other important Home Birth documents, visit our resources collection or click here.

Our Trustees

Sharon Knightbridge

I have two lovely home birthed children. I live on the West Coast of the South Island. My best friend and my cousin birthed at home which sowed the idea so that when it was my time to choose a place of birth I knew home was the place for me too. That simple connection made my choice easy and further investigation and research confirmed that decision.

I became involved with re-starting the local home birth association late in my first pregnancy in 2002. I attended my first National HBA hui in Christchurch in 2004 early in my second pregnancy. I went to my first HBA conference in Invercargill in 2005. I became a trustee in 2009.

Over the last fifteen years I have learned so much from the people I have met and am truly grateful for all of the passion, purpose, grace, expertise, compassion and energy they have shared. I perceive the strength in the grass roots nature of Home Birth Aotearoa to be in the sharing of stories and the neighbourly building of networks and communities – these every day things gently nurture individuals and encourage a positive shift in the culture of birth in Aotearoa.

Sian Hannagan

I am a mother of two boys. My first son was born in Queen Mary maternity ward Dunedin after an intervention cascade that resulted in a forceps delivery. It was a disempowering experience that led me to doubt my body. My second son was born at home after 4 hrs of peaceful labour with no intervention and no pain. It was an empowering experience that rebuilt my trust in my own body. Since this birth I was motivated to become a part of the Home Birth movement.

I am a trustee on the Home Birth Aotearoa Trust, I am on the Maternity Quality Safety Program for the Southern DHB and I am on the Permanent External Advisory Committee for Otago School of Midwifery. I am also part of the Primary Maternity project for the Southern DHB. I am also the editor for our magazine Home Birth Matters. Alongside my passion for birth, I have studied Naturopathy, fine arts and I love to garden. I homeschool our two boys which is a lifestyle as much as anything.

I am intensely passionate about birth freedom. Once we start to see birth as a physiological process to be protected instead of a medical illness to be treated, augmented or intervened with, we will have a better birth environment for all women. Birth choice is the foundation of empowered birthing. Birth must be women and whanau centred..
I have been a Trustee for over 5 years now and love the mahi that we do for our community.

Dr Alison Barrett

Dr Alison Barrett BSc, MD, FRCS(C), FRANZCOG  has worked as a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist for many years in both New Zealand and in Canada. She was the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in a rural hospital in Ontario, and an assistant professor in the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.  She has worked as a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in Hamilton New Zealand, where she was a RANZCOG training supervisor for junior doctors. She is now studying Law. Prior to entering medical school Dr Barrett studied ecology and biological sciences, and these two fields continue to inform her clinical work. She has served on many committees addressing maternal and infant health issues including the National Breastfeeding Advisory Committee for the New Zealand Ministry of Health and the Infant Feeding Advisory Group for Health Canada. She is a member of the Professional Advisory Group of La Leche League and a Trustee for Home Birth Aotearoa.

Harriet Catherine Moir

I birthed both of my two daughters at home in Seacliff, Dunedin. Attending the birth of my sister’s 3 children was the beginning of my journey towards home birth.

While she definitely had positive birth experiences they were actively managed and involved a degree of intervention each time.

I also supported/translated for a friend in her birth that was the perfect example of how the cascade of intervention can lead to a c-section. I couldn’t help but feel that these interventions were not necessary and how one thing always led to another.

These collective experiences and the knowledge that a good friend of mine had had a home birth led me to seek information about it. As soon as I scratched the surface it was very clear to me that home birth was safe and totally wonderful option. It is my utmost belief that birth is a normal and natural life event that our bodies are perfectly designed to achieve. It breaks my heart to the core that women have lost faith in their ability to birth and that it is generally surrounded in fear. I am actively involved in helping to grow the Positive Birth Dunedin community and I take every opportunity I possibly can to encourage women to take ownership of their births, talk to women and actively seek positive birth stories and do their own research. I joined the Home Birth Aotearoa Trust just over a year ago and I am blown away by the community and the work these women do. My contribution to the cause is instinctual and experience based rather than factual or research based but I hope to add value for many years to come.

Eva profile pic

Eva Neely

I live with my husband and little daughter in Wellington on the beautiful South Coast. I have a  PhD student in health promotion, and have a passion for enabling people to feel empowered over their lives. Being in control over your physical, mental, and social “me” is essential for an empowered individual and community. While science and medicine have brought us much knowledge, the power and ownership that is awarded to the medical profession overpowers much human wisdom that has preceded. I strongly believe in our innate power to know what is right for us, and desire a more balanced homeostasis of evidence-based medicine and intuition.

Homebirth is the most empowering experience I have ever had. It was so precious to birth my baby in an environment that special and well-known to me and my husband. Putting trust in myself and my body as well as having a positive outlook on my upcoming birth were pivotal in making this decision. I would love for all women have such a positive birth experience, but most importantly, have positive birth expectations. For me joining the HBA Board is one way I can help contribute to empowered women birthing at home, and promote more intuition in birthing.

To me, it doesn’t matter how exactly the birth played out, the health of the mother and baby are all that matter in the end. The importance lies in positive birth expectations, in that an empowered home birthing mama knows she has the ability to birth her baby, while acknowledging that modern medicine provides outstanding services when things don’t go to plan.

I am also a volunteer for the Wellington Home Birth Association, and am happy to be contacted for any local questions, networks, or resources.

Kirsty Wilkinson

My names Kirsty Wilkinson, I am mum of 5, wife to one husband and a student midwife. I have had 3 hospital births in my hometown of Dunedin. I moved to Christchurch 5 years ago, inherited a bonus child, and fell pregnant with my 4th baby. My journey to choosing homebirth was one of sheer laziness really. Finding a babysitter for 4 kids to come at short notice (a willing babysitter that is) was a mission with no family here, and parking at Christchurch hospital is a nightmare. Dunedin doesn’t have birth units so that was a new concept to me. After discussing things with my midwife we decided home was the best choice for us! I had an incredible home birth and wanted to scream it from the rooftops, upset that I’d never considered it sooner so I threw myself completely into the local home birth community here in Christchurch, enrolled in midwifery training and after attending an HBAT hui decided to put myself forward to join as a trustee. I’m still a complete novice when it comes to trustee life, but enjoy working for the cause!

To me, it doesn’t matter how exactly the birth played out, the health of the mother and baby are all that matter in the end. The importance lies in positive birth expectations, in that an empowered home birthing mama knows she has the ability to birth her baby, while acknowledging that modern medicine provides outstanding services when things don’t go to plan.

Karen Walker

Tena Kotou katoa. Ko Ngati Porou oku rua Ngati Toa taku iwi. Mother of 8 tamariki of which 6 were born at home, including twins.
I care that people have choices and it’s been my lived experience that birthing at home has been the most empowering and magnificent life altering option for my birthing.
I have been a mother for 24 years, a midwife for 20 years and a trustee for Homebirth Aotearoa for less than a year.

Tammi Heap


Tammi Heap

Hi my name is Tammi & I am very blessed to live in my birthplace town of friendly Feilding. I have been part of a dynamic duo for close to 21 years, married 11 of those, to my wonderful husband James. Together we have birthed three awesome sons, three planned homebirths, but 2 actual, as my first son decided he wanted to make an early appearance 5 weeks premature.

I have the most amazing job in the world of being a homebirth midwife, sitting alongside amazing families as they bring their own new babies earthside. The wonderment of being part of such a special time never lessens, and I feel very privileged to be weaved into the basket of each birthing experience.

Each of our births have had differences, with my first being a hospital birth – despite the knowledge I had as a student midwife, at the time – I still felt very disempowered, and bullied into procedures, that, given proper time to think at the time…I would not have/and did not, truly consent to. Our second son was a very quick planned homebirth at our home. It was amazing experience, and although not enough time to fill the giant birth pool we had, was poles apart from the previous hospital birth (very much a healing birth for us both). Yay, we got our planned waterbirth with our youngest son and after seeing and hearing so many of my lovely clients rock their waterbirths I was able to say yes!!! OMG it truly gets rid of that ring of fire!!! I feel like I could have a hundred babies this way!!!

I have such an immense amount of passion for homebirth, and homebirthing families. In the home, there are present, those extra unforeseen factors, where I see birth, as something that is as it should be, when left, unfolds at its own natural state and pace, and, at its best. As a midwife, I feel my role is to be the quiet bystander, to keep the rhythm as undisturbed as nature intends, and quiet in my duties, for I am only a small piece of the harmony…I am not the creator. The Home Birth Aotearoa Trust and its trustees are a very committed and passionate group, and I feel very privileged to bring my strong passion, and advocacy skills to the fore in this group. New Zealand has a strong group of home birthing families and together as a trustee, my aim is to continue in nurturing and strengthening both our local and national groups.


We welcome contributions of birth stories, and written submissions, photographs and artwork for our website or magazine. Please contact our web content manager or editor to discuss here

Connect with your community:

Find out how you can help your local group or start a support group or network of your own. If you have a product or service to offer, contact our admin here to link into the Home Birth Aotearoa gift pack scheme in your area.

Donate to the cause:

If you would like to make a financial contribution to help us carry on our work, our bank account details are as follows:
03 1540 0512132 00
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Please feel welcome to contact us at any time if you have an idea of how to support home Birth in Aotearoa, we love new ideas and collaborative mahi to promote home birth.

Site Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Please read this agreement carefully before accessing or using this site. By accessing or using the site, you agree to be bound by this agreement. These terms of use apply to the contents and your use of the entire Home Birth Aotearoa website at www.homebirth.org.nz .

Home Birth Aotearoa may revise this policy at any time by updating this page so regular visitors should check from time to time to review our current policy.

All information provided on this website is believed to be correct at the time of the last update to the relevant page and is believed to be based upon current evidence based research. However Home Birth Aotearoa assumes no responsibility for any consequence relating directly or indirectly to any action or inaction you take based on the information, services or other material on this site. While Home Birth Aotearoa strives to keep the information on this site accurate, complete, and up-to-date we cannot guarantee and will not be responsible for any decision, damage or loss related to, the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. This website is not intended to give medical advice. It is your responsibility to check all information that you choose to use and make your own decision with regard to your options.

Links to other Sites & Link Policy
Throughout the website links may be provided by Home Birth Aotearoa to possible sites of interest to pregnant women and their whanau. Opinions expressed in these links are not necessarily those of Home Birth Aotearoa and inclusion does not indicate endorsement or recommendation. Instead these links are intended for informational purposes only and may assist in providing option pathways when researching your birthing and parenting choices. Home Birth Aotearoa does not hold any responsibility whatsoever or accept any liability for the information contained on them.

The criteria for a link on the Home Birth Aotearoa website is as follows:
• must promote homebirth
• must be willing to provide a reciprocal link
• should provide information/education rather than businesses promoting their services / products (unless they relate directly to homebirth)
• should be New Zealand based unless they contain information that is relevant to home birthers in New Zealand
• should be free and regularly updated

Use of the Content of this Website
The design and content of this website (unless stated as from another source) is copyright ©2014 Home Birth Aotearoa. All rights are reserved. You are welcome to print unaltered extracts from this website for your own personal non-commercial use provided that Home Birth Aotearoa (or any individual author named on the site) is recognised as the source. Otherwise, permission to reprint or electronically reproduce any document or graphic in whole or in part for any reason is expressly prohibited, unless prior written consent is obtained from Home Birth Aotearoa.
Home Birth Aotearoa has made reasonable efforts to check for all known viruses on this website, but shall have no liability for any viruses transmitted to you as a result of your use of this website.

Privacy Policy
Home Birth Aotearoa is committed to preserving the privacy of all visitors to our website. When you use this website, we may collect information about you from messages you post to the website or emails you send to us. This information will only be used to provide you with any information that you have requested. The only parties to whom we may disclose your information are as follows:

Our members who process the information for the purposes for which you have made it available to us.
Third parties in respect of whom you give us permission to disclose to.
Our advisers, providers and auditors who may have incidental or necessary access to your information in the process of providing services to us, however they will treat your information as confidential.

Registered Midwives Privacy
Thank you for registering with our Home Birth Aotearoa Midwives database. We respect your privacy – any information provided is displayed on the website for the benefit of families seeking to birth at home. In some cases we may send you mail/email with regards to Home Birth Aoteroa activities only. We do not give out your information to any other parties except the MOH in accordance with our contract for funding or if required by law.

Anti-spam Policy
Home Birth Aotearoa prohibits the use of the www.homebirth.org.nz site in any manner associated with the transmission, distribution or delivery of any unsolicited bulk or unsolicited commercial e-mail (“Spam”). You may not use any Home Birth Aotearoa site to send or deliver Spam. Home Birth Aotearoa does not authorise the harvesting, mining or collection of e-mail addresses or other information from or through the www.homebirth.org.nz site.

Creative Commons
Unless otherwise stated, text on this website, and, where specifically stated, individual images (whose copyright is owned by Home Birth Aotearoa), is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand licence (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Licence). In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt text works (and those images subject to this licence where specifically stated) for non-commercial purposes, as long as you attribute the work to Home Birth Aotearoa and abide by the other licence terms. To view a copy of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/nz/

For more information about Creative Commons licensing, visit the Creative Commons website or view the following video.

photo credits:
With thanks to our trustees and their families

Te Reo

Information on the use of
Te Reo Maori on our website:

Te Reo

HBA is committed to biculturalism, and as such where appropriate we use both English and Te Reo Maori as the two of the three national languages of New Zealand – the other is New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). For those who do not speak or read Te Reo, please find below explanations of the words used on our website:

Aotearoa is the name for New Zealand used commonly amongst most of the nation , it means the land of the long white cloud. Derived from Ao/cloud, Tea/white or bright and Roa/long. An alternate translation is Aotea/the first waka to discover Aotearoa and Roa/long. It’s possible the name has dual meaning. Legend says that Kuramārōtini, the wife of Polynesian explorer Kupe, named New Zealand after seeing the cloud stretching over the land.

Aroha – love and compassion. Aroha mai – I’m very sorry. Aroha nui – much love and deep affection.

Atua – the ancestor, the spirit, god or guiding being to which all creation is owed.

Ipu Whenua – A vessel for the whenua made from a gourd, woven from harakeke or made from clay so that it may return to the earth.

Harakeke – New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax with long strong fibres, and healing compo- nents in the leaf, root and flower. Used for raranga and muka.

Kete – a basket or bag woven from harakeke, often used to store precious things or gifts.

Kete-aronui – basket of knowledge of aroha, peace and the arts and crafts which benefit the Earth and all living things – one of the three baskets of knowledge. This basket relates to knowledge acquired through careful observation of the environment.

Karakia – a ritual chant, prayer or incantation, used to bless an sanctify or protect and ward.

Koru – a fern shoot, to be folded looped or coiled. An integral part of Māori design

Kowhaiwhai – decorative scroll work, often used in Māori design and meeting house panels

Mahi – Our work, our efforts and accomplishments.

Mana – is the enduring, indestructible power of the atua and is inherited at birth, the more se- nior the descent, the greater the mana. It is an inherent power and strength of character with- in a person. Mana and Tapu have a correlation.

Marae – a spirit of generousity and hospitality, the welcoming area in a Maori meeting house and inclusive of the whole meeting house area.

Matua/pāpā – father/dad

Muka – The fibres in the flax used to make twine, often used to tie of the umbilicus in traditional birth.

Mihimihi – a greeting, tribute or thanks.

Mokopuna – grandchildren

Papa-tū-ā-nuku – Earth mother and wife of Rangi-nui. All living things originate from the. She is an mother earth figure who gives many blessings to her children and nourishes all with her body

Pōwhiri – a ritual of encounter, the welcome ceremony performed when entering a marae.

Pounamu – Greenstone or New Zealand jade. A precious stone that has cultural importance, it is green and hard and is often carved. It is valued for its mana and its tapu.

Pēpe – baby

Raranga – the weaving of harakeke

Tangata whenua – people born of the whenua, people of the land, our native peoples.

Taonga – treasure or precious things of significance

Tapu – sacred

Te Ika-a-Māui – The North Island, a fish caught
by demi-god Maui.

Te Reo Maori – the maori language, often re- ferred to as ‘te reo’ – the language. Te reo is historically a spoken language. Reo means voice.

Te Waipounamu – The South Island, originated from Te Wahi Pounamu, the place of the greenstone. Te Waipounamu translates to the waters of precious jade.

Tūmanakotanga – hope, desire, aspiration.

Ukaipo – the mother,a source of sustenance. Often used to describe night time feeding, it is the sound a baby makes as they drink from the breast.

Waiata – song or chant

Wahine whakawhanau – midwife

Waka – canoe

Whāereere/māmā – mother

Whakawhānau – to give birth

Whāngote – breastfeeding

Whenua – The Māori word for land, whenua, also means placenta. All life is seen as being born from the womb of Papatūānuku, under the sea. The lands above, are the placenta from her womb. When the placenta is born it is returned to the land

Whānau – family

Whare – house

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