Our trust board has been in existence since 2007, the purpose of the Trust which is charitable in all respects according to the laws of New Zealand, is to support networking, and to provide information, education, support and resources about the home birth option and related issues to the national collective of organisations and to the general public, in particular the Trust will:
- Provide resources, initiative and leadership to further the promotion and protection of the
home birth option
b) Promote, provide and encourage public education and information about planned home
c) Promote, protect and encourage the right of women and their Whanau to plan a home birth
d) Support the on-going availability of fully subsidised home birth maternity services for the
women and Whanau of Aotearoa New Zealand
e) Acknowledge, value and support the diversity of grass-roots home birth support groups and Home Birth Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
f) Provide a national home birth voice, which will be a resource for maternity service providers and policy makers and the wider community on issues pertinent to home birth
g) Celebrate and value the home birth experience and the herstory of home birth in Aotearoa
h) Provide and maintain information and resources via appropriate media and relevant printed material
i) Encourage and support research into the benefits of planned home birth
j) Promote and organise networking opportunities for, and with, home birth groups locally
k) Raise money through grants, donations and by any other lawful means or methods that the Trust considers appropriate for the furtherance of these purposes
l) Undertake other initiative or activities consistent with the charitable purpose of this Trust
Home Birth Aotearoa Trust Deed specifies that our trust should be comprised of no more than 8 trustees and no less than 5. The board as a minimum should have the offices of Secretary, a Chair and a Treasurer, though not all of these roles need to be held by a trustee. Trustees are appointed by a nomination and election process; our term is set at 3 years with the ability to renew for a second term. Our role under the trust deed, is one of governance. As a trust we meet once a month to discuss arising issues and follow up on existing work. This covers the basics, but it is a thin explanation of what a Home Birth Trustee is.
So what do we do? Our role in trusteeship is one that is both very specific, and incredibly broad. we are caretakers for Home Birth in Aotearoa, and how that looks differs region by region, year by year. Home Birth Aotearoa is the national collective of regional home birth groups throughout Aotearoa and our regional groups are as multifaceted as our homebirth community. Which means there is no one effective way to be a trustee – our role is about being responsive, and holding space for the home birth mahi undertaken by our communities.
Trusteeship is defined as a governance role, which is to say we aren’t here to manage or control, only to support and guide. In essence the board’s role is to ensure our organisation is well managed, but not to do the managing. Of course, in small trusts, the line between leadership and mahi or governance and management is ever shifting, which is one of the great challenges of being a trustee for Home Birth Aotearoa. There are times when we as trustees have worked incredibly hard to bring a project through to completion. With limited funding we don’t have the capacity to pay people to do all of the tasks we would like. As with our regions, the trust is strengthened with the volunteer mahi of our trustees. It is not a requirement, but it is often where our energy sits. Or if not our energy – our need. While the ‘doing’ is not a requirement, it is often a great opportunity. Sitting within a passionate group of trustees with a shared goal, can be transformative. We come from a place of strength and support which allows us to build on the birth choice movement in ways that are not possible as individuals. Volunteer work that sits at the point of passion is worthy work and when from the heart, easily given. More than the mahi though, what is core to a trustee role, is space we hold. Our trust is there to shelter, promote, and support birth at home, however that manifests.
To be a trustee is to offer passion, to be in collaboration, to share wisdom, to support one another, to hold the homebirth heart. Most of all, it is to be present.
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
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.