Te Awamutu maternity service looks to rebirth

Mothers-to-be in the Morrinsville and Te Aroha areas might not have been so fortunate, but their Te Awamutu counterparts will still be able to give birth closer to home for years to come.

The Waikato District Health Board has bestowed its seal of approval to the plans of a private group called Te Awamutu Birthing to provide maternity services in that town, after the successful conclusion to a tendering process.

That process followed the health board's proposal and eventual decision to close the Matariki and Rhoda Read maternity centres in Te Awamutu and Morrinsville respectively, and centralise birthing units to Hamilton - a move that would save an estimated $1.29 million each year.

However, the board's plans were met with a groundswell of opposition from midwives and families living in or near both towns.

They argued it could pose potentially lethal dangers to expectant mothers attempting to make the 30-plus-minute drive to Hamilton city, rather than the shorter trips to get to the birthing units in the towns.

The board did allow the chance for private groups to step in and provide the services it was backing out of. Two such proposals from groups in Morrinsville failed to get the green light; however, Te Awamutu Birthing now has a three-year deal to provide a birthing hub which will be built in Cambridge Rd near Mitre 10 Mega and bankrolled by a private investor.

The group will also lease the existing Matariki unit for seven months next year as an interim service.

Te Awamutu Birthing's directors are midwives Nicky Helleur - who will manage the centre - Kimba Allison, Taku Stanbury-Poa and Anita Bain, as well as New Zealand Institute of Rural Health chief executive Robin Steed.

The proposed centre still needs to gain building and resource consent approval from the Waipa District Council.


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 - Waikato Times


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