Friday 1st December 2017

Generous gift a 'taonga' for parents

A generous gift has been described as a 'taonga' by two grateful parents and, most importantly, it's one which will help keep their newborn baby safe.

A wahakura (safe sleeping space), weaved by Tauranga Hospital Midwife Natasha Rawiri, has been gifted to Drew Tata and Donna Boswell on the birth of their baby girl, Olive. The present also helps mark today's Te Rā Mokopuna - National Safe Sleep Day. (1st December)

"There's so much that comes with the wahakura, the connection to the whenua, to nature, the natural healing properties of the flax, it's so good for the baby to be close to all of that," said Drew. "The wahakura has significance, it's not just a bed, it's a taonga. This is something we will cherish."

Mum Donna Boswell echoed those sentiments.

"Being given the wahakura was quite overwhelming and we really want to thank Natasha for it. It is something I have always wanted for my children. It's so good for their safe sleeping, it has healing components to it, and it's connecting with tradition as well."

A huge focus of Natasha's present role as a Midwife Coordinator - Safe Sleep & Smoke Cessation, is educating mums and their whanau about keeping baby safe. She weaved her first wahakura earlier this year and also gifted that to a young mum at the hospital.

"For many mums it is a natural desire to want to keep their newborn close to them at all times," said Natasha. "I've seen how great the wahakura is at fulfilling that need while keeping baby safe." 

Wahakura or Pepi-Pods are a portable safe sleeping space for babies up to four to six months. They are designed to provide a safe sleeping environment for babies in a makeshift setting or away from home.

To keep your babies (pepe) of all ages safe during sleep always follow the P.E.P.E. message:

  • Place baby in their own bed, if co-sleeping is desired, consider placing baby safely in a wahakura (woven bassinet for infants) or pepi pod.
  • Eliminate smoking during pregnancy and protect baby with a smokefree whānau, whare and environment. The wider whānau can also provide support to mum by also becoming smokefree.
  • Position baby flat on their back to sleep.
  • Encourage and support mum to breastfeed.

Te Rā Mokopuna - National Safe Sleep Day - raises awareness about SUDI (Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy). SUDI is a term which refers to the unexpected death of an infant through unintentional suffocation and previously unidentified illnesses in the babies affected. SUDI is preventable and the risk factors for our babies can be significantly reduced.  

From left to right: Drew Tata, Cortez Tata, Xavier Tata, Drew Tata Jr, Kyraux Tata, Korah Tata, Achilles Tata, Donna Boswell and baby Olive Ngawai Tata in the wahakura. 

For more information:

James Fuller
Communications Advisor
Bay of Plenty District Health Board
027 839 1791

Last updated: August 29, 2018