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Stories of loss supported by the Waikato

Waikato DHB staff Tracey Williams and Rachael Kingsbury instrumental in the manaia room completion.

Waikato DHB staff Tracey Williams and Rachael Kingsbury instrumental in the manaia room completion.

Friday 14 October was a part of Baby Loss Awareness Week and marked the completion of the Manaia Room, a private birthing and bereavement space for whanau made possible through the Waikato DHB and local community.

DHB’s clinical midwife specialist Tracey Williams, and charge midwife manager Rachael Kingsbury, in partnership with Sands families, were the drivers behind its development and this day was to celebrate the instrumental role community groups played.

“We’ve been able to give grieving families what they need with the support of so many wonderful people.

“We’ve removed the clinical feel through donated items such as the cuddle cot, remembrance board, soundproof walls giving families peace and quiet to grieve, and the flowers donated monthly from Florist Ilene.

“It’s been a long journey. The emotional stories and feedback of whanau who have experienced a perinatal bereavement guided the development and introduced us to an amazing group of people.

“We are extremely blessed, to have had the generosity and love donated to the Manaia room and the bereaved families.”

The Waikato DHB would like to thank the following groups for helping complete the Manaia room:

  • Sands New Zealand – a network of parent-run, non-profit groups supporting families who have experienced the death of a baby
  • Florist Ilene who donate flowers monthly
  • Menz Shed Hamilton, who build and decorate the Angel Boxes as a gift of love for families
  • The families who fundraised and donated the cuddle cot to give families more time for saying hello and goodbye
  • People that donate the tiny and delicate clothing and quilts
  • Those that make the jewellery
  • Heartfelt photography
  • Angel Casts – stone replicas of a baby or child who has left their parents too soon.
  • Angel gowns – for the beautiful gowns to dress the babies in.

The room’s name Manaia is traditionally believed to be the messenger between the earthly world of mortals and the domain of the spirits, and its symbol is used as a guardian against evil.

“No matter how long or short one’s life is, their mana lives on and this room acknowledges that,” said Kingi Turner, pou herenga with Waikato DHB’s Maori Health team Te Puna Oranga.

Read more about the room: A space and place to grieve.

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