Three Tongan women have become Registered Midwives after completing the Bachelor of Health Science (Midwifery) degree at Auckland University of Technology.

Valentina Tu’itavuki Kulitapa, Elani Mafi Latu’ila and Helen Schaaf Tameifuna will begin working in South Auckland as self employed lead maternity carer (LMC) midwives.

They will initially work in Counties Manukau Health care area which has the largest number of Pasifika women giving birth.

Only 2.2 percent of midwives in New Zealand are of Pasifika descent and only a handful are Tongan.

Statistically, Pasifika women are most likely to book a midwife late when they are more than 37 weeks pregnant.

This means they miss out on crucial care and information and often face problems during their pregnancy.

The AUT midwives course has  been described as difficult, with students expected to be on call and no time for part time work.

All three women have children and had to juggle the demands of family and study.

For all its difficulties, they described the course as “doable.”

Clinical educator and Pacific student liaison for the midwifery programme at AUT South Campus, Nga Marsters said New Zealand needed more Pacifika midwives.

She said there were only 10 Pasifika midwives in South Auckland.

“That’s not enough,” Marsters said.

“Pacific mums should be able to have access to Pacific midwives. Pacific midwives work better with Pacific mothers because they can understand each other better.

“We need to increase the number of Pacific midwifes in the community and encourage more Pacific people to study midwifery.”

If you are looking for a midwife, you can contact Valentina on 021 0741330, Elani on 021 02778172, or Helen on 022 432 2300‬.

The main points

  • Three Tongan women have become Registered Midwives after completing the Bachelor of Health Science (Midwifery) degree at Auckland University of Technology.
  • Valentina Tu’itavuki Kulitapa, Elani Mafi Latu’ila and Helen Schaaf Tameifuna will begin working in South Auckland as self employed lead maternity carer (LMC) midwives.
  • Only 2.2 percent of midwives in New Zealand are of Pasifika descent and only a handful are Tongan.

For more information

The Aunties initiative – creating more Pacific midwives

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