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Born – Midwives and Women Celebrate 100 years’

‘Born – Midwives and Women Celebrate 100 years’; an exhibition recognising the centenary of midwifery in New Zealand will be launched in parliament on 5 May (International Midwives Day) by Prime Minister Helen Clark.

* 2004 celebrates one hundred years of midwifery registration in New Zealand – a period of challenge and change.

The fourteen panel exhibition portraying midwives’ stories will go on a New Zealand wide tour following the launch in Parliament.

“The exhibition gives a ‘snap shot’ view of what midwifery in New Zealand has been and has become” says Sue Bree, President of the New Zealand College of Midwives. “We are celebrating the centenary of that historical legislative commitment to women and their babies” she says.

The exhibition features stories from midwives selected by their colleagues which are representative of the wide variety of settings in which midwives work. As these stories unfold we are given an insight into the remarkable development of the midwifery profession in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the place of midwives within the communities in which they work.

Woven throughout the stories are comments from mothers and fathers who have experienced the services that midwives offer.

NZCOM has commissioned Halina Ogonowska-Coates, writer, film maker, oral historian and producer of award winning exhibitions to produce the exhibition. Nga Maia O Aotearoa me te Waipounamu, the Maori midwives collective, has also been commissioned to produce work which will be included in the exhibition to represent the work of Maori midwives.

The midwives’ stories that comprise the exhibition have been recorded right throughout New Zealand and are presented in an innovative art based medium. These stories invite viewers into the hearts and minds of midwives, sharing the celebration of this important occasion.

The exhibition will tour New Zealand cities and major provincial centers during the centenary year. It will be freely accessible to in public places such as libraries and art galleries.

The title was chosen, not only for the obvious reason that babies are indeed ‘born’ but also to symbolize the significant changes that the midwifery profession has undergone over the past century.

Midwives are once again visible members of the community and recognised as the providers of maternity care. New Zealand’s maternity services are a model which enables women and their families to have continuity of care throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth and the post-natal period. This model has become the standard of care that many other countries wish to achieve.

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