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$100k fundraising campaign launched to fit out new Christchurch birthing unit – Maia Health Foundation

A Canterbury health charity is aiming to raise $100,000 to put world-class finishing touches on Christchurch’s new central city birthing unit.

The unit, called Kurawaka Waipapa, is being hailed as a gamechanger for the city, which is desperately short of central birthing facilities.

“This new birthing unit will provide valuable space for whānau to spend time together. The $100,000 we’re aiming to raise will fund the fit out of two whānau rooms taking this facility from good to great,” Māia Health Foundation Chief Executive Michael Flatman says.

Kurawaka Waipapa also includes four birthing suites and 20 post-natal rooms.

The only option for women to birth in the central city is Christchurch Women’s Hospital, which was designed for 4,000 births each year. In 2023, Christchurch Women’s Hospital saw 5,124 births.

Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora Canterbury Waitaha Executive Director Midwifery and Maternity Norma Campbell says many who birth at Christchurch Women’s Hospital are immediately transferred to a community led birthing unit for their post-natal care as there’s simply no room for them to stay.

“No one gets the sense that they’ve had a calm and peaceful experience because it’s just a constant movement both for those who are high risk and those with no risk factors to ensure we have the beds available for those coming in next,” Campbell says.

Canterbury’s community-led birthing units are in Rangiora, Rolleston, or further afield in Ashburton.

“Kurawaka Waipapa is the final piece of the community birthing unit puzzle, providing a calm and relaxing environment, just five minutes from Christchurch Women’s Hospital,” Campbell says.

Kelly Kara, the new Midwife Manager for Kurawaka Waipapa, says this unit is a massive step ahead of anything she’s seen in her decades of working in the maternity space.

She says the addition of the whānau rooms will make a huge difference to so many families supporting their loved ones through birth.

“Birth is an incredibly exciting time, and a really challenging time too. What we know makes a huge difference is people having their whānau around them in those key first days as they get to know their baby, start recovering from birth and gain confidence together.

“It’s amazing what the Māia Health Foundation is adding to Kurawaka Waipapa, ensuring our whānau rooms will be a beautiful space to welcome new life, and a place that feels like home for every whānau,” Kara says.

Melanie Glasson is expecting her second child this year and plans to birth at Kurawaka Waipapa.

“The birthing units in Rangiora and Rolleston are just too far away, so I’m really excited to have a new central city option,” Glasson says.

“I don’t want to be in Christchurch Women’s if I don’t have to be, to free up space for those who need it. But it’s a relief knowing if I do need extra care, it’s so close to Christchurch Women’s Hospital,” she adds.

Māia Health Foundation is confident the community will rise to the challenge of raising $100,000 to take the new birthing unit from good to great.

“We know our community want our newest families to experience the best start in life, and Kurawaka Waipapa will help achieve that. Please donate today,” Flatman says.

Donations can be made at maiahealth.org.nz.

Kurawaka Waipapa is due to open for its first births by 16 April 2024.


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