A new waiata for mums and babies
A waiata, You are Woman, was launched at Pehia¯weri Marae in Tikipunga, last week.
It marked the beginning of new initiative by the Northland DHB and service providers to ensure the health and wellbeing of expectant mothers are nurtured throughout their pregnancy and for the first five years of their baby’s life.
Nga¯ Ta¯tai Ihorangi — Our First 2000 Days is a new programme developed by the DHB with the support of health providers and social services, aimed at delivering 10 key principles with a focus on Ma¯ori women through wha¯nau-centred wa¯nanga to reduce health gaps for Ma¯ori in the region.
The resources include workshop displays, a workbook, and a range of audiovisual resources for social media that will be delivered via the Northland DHB Facebook page over the next 12 months.
Mothers will also receive whahakura (woven bassinets) when they take part in the programme.
Consultation with the DHB and providers revealed the need for a specific focus on the health of mothers by making good choices from conception onwards. The cessation of smoking and alcohol consumption were key, as was engaging the services of a midwife to help and guide mothers during their pregnancy (only 22 per cent of Ma¯ori mothers attend antenatal classes).
Encouraging separate sleeping was also essential, with wahakura giving babies their own safe space in which to sleep.
Delivering messages through kaupapa Ma¯ori and wha¯naucentred wa¯nanga proved to be a successful strategy for engagement and discussion with Ma¯ori women in 2012, when the DHB took funded research into sudden unexplained death in infancy after the region topped the national SUDI rate. (Northland was losing six to eight babies a year, one in eight of them Ma¯ori).
Northland DHB Chief Executive Dr Nick Chamberlain took a proactive step that no other DHB had, in that the project focused on Ma¯ori women in ma¯rae-based wananga to reduce the key risk factors for SUDI. These are maternal smoking, adults/siblings sharing a bed with an infant and the position of your baby while sleeping.
Meanwhile, for Nga¯ Ta¯tai Ihorangi to be effective, the working group wanted to ensure the 10 key principles reached the wider community, and agreed that waiata was the perfect medium to achieve that.
You are Woman was written and performed by Taniora Tauariki and Gibson Harris, supported by the Ha¯tea Kapa Haka group, Northland midwives and health providers involved in the project. It resulted in a music video with the message that giving new life is the most important role for women and their wha¯nau.
Filmed by Dean Whitehead, the video follows a young couple, Kaylah and Reece Bermingham, through important milestones during their pregnancy to visually tell the story and make it more relatable to the audience.
When cast and crew arrived for the final day’s filming they learnt that Kaylah and Reece’s baby, Nga¯wai Madisyn Blair Bermingham, had been born that very morning.
“I congratulate everyone involved in the development of this taonga, which I believe will help us improve health outcomes for tamariki and wha¯nau throughout Northland,” Dr Chamberlain said.
To download the music and social media video files go to community.northlanddhb.org.nz/ first-2000-days/
Video star and new mum Kaylah Bermingham (left) and her mother, holding three and half-week-old Nga¯ wai Madisyn Blair Bermingham, at the launch of You are Woman.’