Our News from Hui.

By Home Birth Aotearoa
Sep 2015

Normally we report on news from our Home Birth regions around the country, but this season we had our annual Spring Hui and it was a beautiful event. It brought our regions together to talk about what we are most passionate about – Home Birth!

Photo credit: Claire Humphries

It was Leonie Davis who said “Magic happens when women circle.” And for our Home Birth community, this is certainly true. National Hui, held annually, is a chance to do this on a grand scale. To be surrounded by a such a strong and wise group of people who share the same vision is truly empowering. It is a wonderful way to fill your home birth tank.

As always, the day started with a Kei a wai ceremony, where regional groups stood to share their water and intentions for the day. The vessel we use for this ceremony is a beautiful gift to the home birth movement, sculpted by the home birth women of Whangarei, with the guidance and wisdom of Hana Easton. The vessel sits as witness to the talks we have throughout the day and as the day closes, we return the water back to the earth and sow our intentions for the coming year.

Our beautiful vessel sits at the centre before the Kei a wai ceremony. Photo credit: Claire Humphries.
Photo credit: Claire Humphries
The Nelson and Motueka group stand for Kei a wai. Photo credit: Claire Humphries.
The day was facilitated by Lauren who did an amazing job of drawing all of our threads together, her heart for the cause and strong focus on outcomes from the day meant that we had a fruitful event where space for homebirth was truly held. Her contributions made the day what it was.
Lauren (on the left) our facilitator starts the day with a smile.

This year we had the release for our Home Birth Trust strategic planning document, three years since the last one was created it was a great chance to reflect on what we had achieved and what we wanted to achieve in the coming three years. One big progression from our last document is a move to the Ottawa charter structure. For those not familiar with the Ottawa charter, it’s a health promotion document that is structured to achieve outcomes in community health. When we compared our goals as a Trust, with the outcome based structure of the Ottawa Charter, it was a no-brainer. The two meshed really well and going forwards it means that our initiatives will be really compatible with other health promotion groups. To see our new strategic planning document, head to our resources where it can be downloaded.

We introduced our new Trust Board and ratified the three formal trust positions as defined by our trust deed.

Sian Hannagan – Facilitator

Sharon Knightbridge – Secretary

Xavia Healey-Diaz – Treasurer

All of the current trustees. From left to right. Xavia, Sharon, Tammi, Donna, Eva, and Sian. Photo credit: Claire Humphries

The focus for the day was about strengthening our regions so it was great to hear from Alesha who set up the new Golden Bay Home Birth group and from Rose and Bella who have re-energised the Auckland region.

Alesha gave a great talk about how simplicity worked for her in the setup of this new group. Her region has a high home birth rate but no organised home birth community. So, creating a space for women to talk and share their journeys was valuable. She talked about being responsive to the needs of the community – which for her group meant a name change to make it more inclusive. The group is now known as ‘Birth Wisdom – Empowered and Home Birth in Golden Bay.’ This meant a focus change from solely birth place to woman centered birth regardless of birth place.

Our Auckland region has seen some changes in recent months as one group reached the end of its energy, this made space for a new group to rise and give strength to the movement. Rose and Bella took the time to create a beautiful presentation about their journey to group sustainability. It was really great hearing about how they worked to meet the needs of the community through hiring home birth resources which funded group activities. They have also taken the big step of registering the group as an incorporated society, which comes with a number of benefits to the group including the ability to seek funding from grants. Rose has offered to share her experiences with any group wishing to follow this path, she has also offered free hosting for any group wishing to set up a website. Seeing such strong focus from a new group is an inspiring thing to witness.

Bella, one of the Auckland representatives talks to Carla Sargent.

A theme that kept coming through from the day’s conversations was about strength through collaboration. A sentiment that Sharon picked up from the Maternity Conference recently held in Wellington was about picking up all the individual ‘peggy squares’ that were being ‘knitted’ by different groups and individuals and sewing them together into a big blanket. Individually, those little squares couldn’t warm much more than your toes but knitted together they become strong, warm, and protective and can warm many.

This metaphor speaks to all of the different groups and initiatives that by themselves may not achieve much, but together can build a strong movement where shared goals can reduce the effort needed to achieve great things. This idea has been built into our strategic planning document as a commitment to reach out to aligned organisations.

Irma and her kitchen team fed our bodies and our spirits, they really kept the day going with their scrumptious eatables.
Photo credit: Claire Humphries.

Special thanks to:



      Lauren for being an amazing facilitator who really pulled everything together so beautifully


Jenni Burt for her commitment to holding all of the threads

Sarah for being our go to woman

Claudi for her homebirth heart and tireless energy

Brooke for bringing such vibrant ‘birthiness’ to the event

Rimke for being our capable minute taker

Carla Sargent for being a steady homebirth presence throughout (and for those late night wines)

Emily and all of our childcare volunteers who were with our beautiful tamariki all day and did a marvellous job

Irma and her kitchen team who nourished us completely

Claire Humphries for being the most amazing photographer – she documented some beautiful moments in Home Birth

And here is to all of the tamariki, without whom we would have no purpose in this cause.