Over the weekend of the 17th and 18th of May, the Southern regional pod celebrated home birth together at Te Takutai o te Titi Marae (Colac Bay) in Southland, a stunning location.
Our Hui brought together Members from Queenstown, Te Anau, Dunedin, Invercargill and Bluff. It was a beautiful experience in a beautiful and magical location surrounded by equally beautiful, magical and like minded people.
While it was our involvement within Home Birth that brought us together it was not solely Home Birth that connected us. It was a love and appreciation for natural birth and nourishment of our future generations. We had members whose experiences range from caesarean sections, natural home births to members who are yet to become mothers. A classic indication regardless of backgrounds or our paths in life we can all come together and connect on a common level.
The Takutai o Te Titi Marae provided a welcoming and homelike setting on the shore front of Colac Bay. After we were welcomed on to the Marae by Gary Davis,we all had something to eat and drink then we were shown around before being left to our own devices. I thought it a lovely touch that the speaker mentioned in his speech that they valued what our association stood for and their appreciation of home birth. After a lot of talking, eating and many cups of tea and knitting, we all gathered in the Wharenui for the Home Birth Aotearoa Kai a wai ceremony, which you can read about here. We all said why we were there and what we hoped to gain from the hui.
Following the ceremony, the women gathered spent time deepening their connections and sharing stories. Some of the key thoughts that came to the fore was how to build energy in local regions and how to build community. After the evening meal (which was AMAZING) , the group watched Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives, a documentary about Ina May Gaskin which was bought to New Zealand last year and played in many regions as a Home Birth Aotearoa Initiative. It was great to see how a small movement grew to such a powerful message.
On the Sunday morning, the group hosted Lena, a natural fertility educator who gave a presentation. Her talk was about how we manage our own natural fertility, a really fascinating insight into the hormonal cycles within a woman’s body. Knowing about natural fertility is an empowering thing for women as they become more in touch with the ebbs and flows of their body, so it was a real boon to have her come and talk to the group. Lena said that one of the unexpected boons of using natural fertility, is that it brings couples closer as they connect through intimacy that is guided by a woman’s natural cycles. Natural fertility uses an evidence based symptothermal technique which allows couples to chart their fertility for conception or contraception. There are natural fertility educators located around the country if you want to have someone come and speak to your region, as well as the opportunity to train as one yourself. See more info here.
The hui ended with the closing ceremony, returning the returning of the vessel waters to the sea. It seemed fitting that a beautiful day was followed by a storm.
I do feel this event was merely a dress rehearsal of what it could have been, had it been held at a different time of year. I do wish I had managed to get a photo of the full moon looking out on the sea from the wharenui as it was truly beautiful. Those of us who attended are eagerly awaiting a summer time event where we can all connect again and this gives those who unfortunately could not make it at the last minute due to sick children another opportunity to connect with everyone next time. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Home Birth Aotearoa for making this event possible and believe our hui summed up beautifully what our organization stands for and provided the opportunity for like minded people who have an appreciation for natural birth to come together.
Many thanks to Samantha Hall and Sian Hannagan for the above words and pictures.