Little progress

on recommended Hawke's Bay Māori birthing unit

There appears to have been little or no progress on setting up a specialised Māori birthing unit in Hawke's Bay, a key recommendation of a critical review into racial discrimination in the region's maternity services.

A review into how Hawke's Bay Hospital treats Māori whānau in maternity care was commissioned after concerns were raised over the hospital's treatment of Māori, following a highly publicised uplift of a child in 2019.

The review was released publicly in June.

Some whānau said they were treated with cruelty and were fearful for their own privacy. These incidents created fear, uncertainty and frustration, leading to whānau mistrusting the service.

One of the key recommendations in the review suggested creating a Ngāti Kahungunu-centric birthing unit that could provide culturally safe care for all hapū māmā (pregnant mothers).

Local midwife Jean Te Huia is one of the advocates for this new unit.

"I believe it's much-needed, because we've got evidence to show that the current Māori birthing population is not being served well by the current system," she said.

She cited the recently released 15th annual report of the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which found Māori and Pasifika experienced worse outcomes.

She visited the Toronto Birthing Centre in Canada, led by indigenous midwives, to get ideas.

Link to article: Little progress on recommended Hawke's Bay Māori birthing unit | RNZ News


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