Since 2014, a novel approach to health education has been adopted by maternity staff at Waitemata DHB. The DHB invites pregnant mums, whānau and community agencies to a day of weaving at Waitakere Hospital Marae.
Throughout the day experts teach the art of weaving a wahakura, a flax baby bed. Staff and invited speakers also share important health messages about safe sleeping, breastfeeding and smokefree pregnancies, with the aim of reducing the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy.
Expectant mothers create their own wahakura which are then dried out, ready for their baby to sleep in.
The weaving days have been successful and are a great example of Māori participation. An anonymous feedback form submitted by one of the attending mums explained how the event had been spiritually uplifting. ‘I have learnt so much and will definitely pass on the knowledge,’ she said.