The six colourful panels each have a name gifted by the Muaūpoko iwi; Te Puna Wai, Te Kōanga, Te Raumati, Te Hōtoke and Ngā Purapura. The Unit itself was gifted the name Kōhangahanga. As well as the new names, each panel contains artwork specially designed by Muaūpoko iwi members.
A large Tukutuku panel was also gifted to the Unit by Te Kokiri Development Consultancy Inc. The panel sits at the entrance to the Maternity Unit, and will be the first thing people see when they come in for care.
Four of the room names correspond to the seasons, and the new beginnings that these bring. Raumati (Summer) is a time of new learning and growth, Koanga (Spring) is a time where things flourish and bloom and new life is born, Hōtoke (Winter) is a time where people gather together to remember those who have gone before and prepare for the year ahead, and Ngahuru (Autumn) is a time where crops are harvested.
Te Puna Wai is the room used for water births, wai meaning water. As Ngā Purapura is a lounge room, the related design is a tāniko design, that literally translates to ‘a point where people or events cross.’ Te Whare Kōhangahanga (Maternity Ward) is a space where new life begins and is celebrated; bonds are strengthened, new relationships are made, and families are created.
Improving the imagery in the Unit was a collaborative project between Muaūpoko, Lead Maternity Carers and Midwives who work in the unit. Charge Midwife Lesley Gummer said the new names and decorative panels would help with the Unit’s image.
“We’re hopeful that the addition of the artwork and Māori names will make the Unit a more welcoming place for patients and whānau. We want them to feel as though they’re able to drop in and see us any time they wish.”
Barnardos Childbirth Educator and Team Leader Jenny Warren said the imagery of the Tukutuku panel is representative of the array of women they see in the Unit.
“It’s called Nga here O Nga here O Nga Waka, which means ‘The bonding of all’. The weaving represents all the different groups who come through the unit. About 61 percent of babies born at the unit are Māori but we also see Pasifika, Pakeha and a range of other ethnicities.”
Donations for the artwork came from Levin Childbirth Education, New Zealand College of Midwives, Te Ohu Auahi Mutunga and Barnardos. The project took about two years to complete.
Charge Midwife Lesley Gummer reveals one of the specially designed room signs
The newly donated Tukutuku panel
Some of the group who were instrumental in the project