HOME BIRTH AOTEAROA TRUST
The Home Birth Aotearoa Trust is a charitable trust and was formed in 2007 to create a legally recognised national home birth organisation that would be collectively accountable and sustainable. The Trust consists of up to eight elected trustees and two apprentices, who invest in their regional home birth groups as well as in the Home Birth Aotearoa Trust. The Trust works as kaitiaki, or guardian, of Home Birth Aotearoa; it holds the kaupapa or spirit of the home birth movement in Aotearoa New Zealand by representing the collective interests of the volunteer-led regional home birth support groups and associations.
Home Birth Aotearoa holds a contract with the Ministry of Health and is funded to provide National Home Birth Services. The Trust Board applies this contract by working in partnership with women, whānau and midwives to promote and raise the awareness of home birth. They provide representation at national maternity forums to ensure consumer voices have the opportunity to input into maternity policy and practice. They connect with and support regional home birth groups and associations, by providing grants, resources and networking opportunities. National hui are held annually to strengthen bonds, create collective vision and build momentum and strategy towards the vision of promoting home birth in New Zealand more widely.
- To see home recognised and promoted as an option for birth for the majority of New Zealand women
- To increase the number of 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 outcomes 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 to undertake robust reflection upon this commitment on a regular basis
- We support and celebrate home birth, and provide birthing women and whanau with information about home birth.
- The Trust delivers the National Home Birth Coordination Contract for the MoH, promoting and coordinating home birth activities at a national level.
- Home Birth Aotearoa is committed to honouring and upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi and tino rangatiratanga for all families and whanau.
- National Hui are convened annually throughout the country, and a national home birth conference is hosted biennially (every two years) by a regional association.
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
Image Credit: Tania Balzat
The Te Ahuru Mowai vessel was sculpted by the home birth women of Whangarei, with the guidance and wisdom of Hana Easton.
The vessel became symbolic of the birthing woman. From the lush hapu puku, smooth and voluminous, the 3 stages of labour, the shapes of the ova and the sperm, the whenua, the labia that the water pours from and the red inside for the view that the pepe takes for the 9 or so months of gestation. The handle of the vessel, touching only in two places where it was needed for strength, but mostly standing apart, represents the midwife, her guardianship and facilitation of holistic birth.
This sculpture is used at gatherings in what has become a traditional opening and closing Kei a wai ceremony for Home Birth Aotearoa hui. We will go from strength to strength in our journey as home birthing women, and the Te Ahuru Mowai Vessel is a Home Birth Aotearoa taonga that will travel our country empowering ripples of peace and harmony through home birth.
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.
OUR LOGO – PAST AND PRESENT
Our original logo was conceptualised in the year 2000 by Jeannette Lazet, for the Wellington Home Birth Association and was officially drawn from her sketch of an idea by a graphic designer. In 2002, when the Community Birth Services contract for a National Home Birth Coordination Service was first established, the Wellington Home Birth Association gifted the logo design to what was to become, and now is, Home Birth Aotearoa (Trust). From then until mid 2013, the logo for Wellington Home Birth Association and Home Birth Aotearoa was shared.
In mid 2013, the trust engaged a designer, Robin Wisser Kidder, to help us create a brand new logo to represent the organisation. The ‘protected begining’ circle logo was inspired by the founding thoughts of the kowhaiwhai. The layers of the circle represent many aspects of birth and our community. There are layers of protection of the pepe, the mother, the whanau, the community. There is vortex illustrating the past to future. There are waves and surges, ripples of understanding, spirituality and support.
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.
Image Credit: Alena Visser
MEET OUR TRUSTEES
Trustee since November 2021 (1yr apprenticeship)
More about Bobbie-Jane
Tēnā koutou,He uri ahau nō Ngāi Tahu me Te Atiawa. I tipu ake au ki Tamaki-makau-rau, engari i noho ana au ki Kirikiriroa. Ko Lily-James rātou ko Atawhai, ko Raukawa aku tamariki. Ko Regan Cooke tōku tāne. Ko Bobbie-Jane Cooke tōku ingoa.
Pāpāmoa, Bay of Plenty
Trustee since November 2019 and Social Media Administrator
More about Lala
I am wife to a career firefighter and māmā of five children. I hold very strong the personal belief that everyone deserves the right to bodily autonomy and that what may be right for one may not be right for another, no judgement. My five births have all been different and whilst I have experienced trauma within the medical realm, I have also experienced the bliss of uninterrupted homebirth as well as a euphoric, very needed cesarean. I have been involved with homebirth regional groups for nearly 8 years now, starting off with Taupō homebirth group which I left in 2019 when my whānau and I moved to Pāpāmoa. I have always held such a strong intuition in helping to support and empower other wāhine and birthing people and their whānau to have beautiful births where they feel in control, safe and heard whilst also doing my best to support families through previous birth trauma. Between the Trust and my children, some who are teenagers, I am kept busy, but I absolutely love to read as well as sew. So, you will often find me hyper focusing on making my child a new dress from an old tablecloth at 1am.
I have been a trustee for HBA for nearly three years and during this time have found it incredibly eye opening to work with such a diverse range of strong and passionate wāhine. Through this time I was brought into a new role for the Trust, Social Media Administrator. So within this role I take care of both our instagram and facebook pages as well as our facebook group. This is overseen by some of the other Trustees. I take care of most of the day to day running of these pages and am also responsible for finding new content, creating new content and running any campaigns we may have coming up. These include International homebirth week, International day of the midwife etc, even mothers day or christmas. If you send HBA a message through either of these pages, win a giveaway or choose to send us one of your birth stories, experiences of photos (which we are always looking for) it is usually me who you will speak to. This fills my cup so much to know that we I can help connect everyone in this way.
Taumaranui, King Country
Trustee since November 2017
More about Karen
Trustee since November 2022 (6mth apprenticeship)
More about Marta
“Ever since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by the beginning of life, especially birthing. It was no wonder that I stepped onto the path of pursuing midwifery when in my early twenties.
Through midwifery studies I observed and experienced a highly medicalized model of maternity birth care in my country. From these teachings, I knew I would never give birth to my babies in my own country, given the choice to birth on my own terms, or my own choice of place, was taken away from me and all women there.
There began my search to find a country where my right to birth as I needed and wished, existed. This is how I found New Zealand. Coming from a country where home birth was illegal for many years, I was sincerely surprised to arrive and learn that so many women had (and often still have) no idea how fortunate they are to have birthing choices and birthing rights.
Although I chose not to pursue midwifery in New Zealand, my inherent passion for working in maternity care with mamas evolved. To this day, I feel blessed to work with mamas on a daily basis as a Pregnancy and Postpartum Massage Therapist and Postpartum Doula through my business practice, LunaBloom.
I am now a mama of two daughters and was blessed with two natural, intervention-free births. One daughter was born at our home and our other at the Bethlehem Birthing Centre, Bay of Plenty. Each and every day I am grateful to live on this land.
I feel honoured to be invited and now elected as a trustee and to represent Nelson region. I have been voluntarily running the home birth meetings once a month since moving to Nelson four and a half years ago. Our beautiful group is strong and dynamic; it is magical to witness mamas connecting with each other and learning more about (or being introduced to) the plethora of wonderful practitioners and holistic services in our region.
My hope is that women are empowered to learn about, to cherish and to choose the options and choices available to them when it comes to their birthing journey. I am passionate about supporting, nurturing and networking, and bringing our community together to ensure home births are a safe, honoured and normalized possibility now and for our future generations.”
Trustee since November 2021 (2yr apprenticeship)
Trustee since November 2022 (6mth apprenticeship)
Trustee since October 2023 (7mth apprenticeship)
More about Rachel
Kia Ora, I’m Rachel. Māmā to four beautiful babes. I had my first two babies in a maternity home in Taupō, my 3rd was a home birth transfer in Western Australia, and my fourth was born at home on the coast at the start of 2023.
Birth is such a sacred rite of passage.
The thing I love about home birth is that you are in your own little love nest when your bring your precious baby into the world. Babies & mothers being born at home peacefully & gently makes my heart sing.
I’m excited to learn more about being an apprentice trustee for HBA & am looking forward to the year ahead.
Dianne De Estena
Trustee since October 2023 (7mth apprenticeship)
More about Dianne
Hola, I am Dianne De Estena, a mama of 5 gorgeous kids who were planned homebirths, 4 born at home. One a transfer to hospital in labour still a natural birth with her in her caul at the hospital (third baby). I am a midwife and work at a birthing unit in Pukekohe supporting mama and whanau there. For me home birth is in my being it is who I am, I regard it as a right for everyone who chooses it. It is such an honour to stand in that space with wahine, to share their love and joy through it all. I started my journey with my eldest, choosing homebirth and through the Waikato Home Birth Association met so many amazing wahine and midwives who led me to join more volunteer organisations and then train as a midwife which I am forever grateful for their love and support. And so I am back to support this beautiful community in another way again as an apprentice trustee for HBA this year and I am looking forward to adding my voice to the already amazing wahine here.My hope is that women are empowered to learn about, to cherish and to choose the options and choices available to them when it comes to their birthing journey. I am passionate about supporting, nurturing and networking, and bringing our community together to ensure home births are a safe, honoured and normalized possibility now and for our future generations.”
Employee – Contract Administrator
Secretary to the Trust
More about Alesha
In my role as contract administrator to the trust I help to keep things running smoothly while having the pleasure of working with like minded, inspiring, home birth passionate wāhine. If you contact HBAT via email it will be me who gets back to you. In my role, I liaise with regional groups to encourage representatives to attend the HBAT annual national hui and it’s a pleasure to make these connections and strengthen our home birth community network.
It feels heartening to me to know that my work is for a charity that has home birth at its heart.
Feel free to get in touch with me via firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m a māmā of 2 children, my first a home birth with 2 amazing midwives and my second a free birth. I believe strongly in bodily and medical autonomy and informed consent. Since the births of my babies, I have had the desire to encourage wāhine to consider what an empowered birth most looks like for them, and to have faith in the divine body that nature gave us. I volunteer/ run our local home birth support group, Birth Wisdom – Empowered and Home Birth in Golden Bay, and also hire out birth pools to whānau in this rohe. In my spare time you’ll find me tending the garden, soaking up the sunshine, writing poems and making nourishing food to share with my loved ones.