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NZ’s Best Midwives Receive Inaugural Award

03 October 2006

NZ’s Best Midwives Receive Inaugural Award

Five midwives judged ‘outstanding’ by expert panel, clients and
over 4,000 voters

The first recipients of a new award designed to recognise excellence in midwifery care come from Auckland to Greymouth and have delivered over 6,000 babies between them.

The winners are:
1. Sharon Weir, from Maternity Associates, Mairangi Bay, Auckland.
2. Jo Coulter, from Maternal Instincts Midwives, Hamilton.
3. Ana Navidad, from Hutt Hospital, Hutt Valley (formerly of Rotorua).
4. Liz MacLeod, from Merivale Midwives, Christchurch.
5. Jude Bruce, from Grey Hospital, Greymouth

The awards were developed by best selling parenting magazine, Little Treasures following a flurry of criticism of midwives in New Zealand.

Readers of the magazine were invited to nominate midwives they felt had delivered exceptional service and more than 170 nominations were received.

An expert judging panel made up of consumer representatives from the National Committee of the New Zealand College of Midwives was then given the unenviable task of choosing 10 finalists.

“They all showed ‘tremendous empathy and kindness to the women and babies they looked after and their postnatal support was second to none’, said Little Treasures Editor, Rosemary Barraclough.

Winning nomination for support during life and death
Hamilton midwife, Jo Coulter was nominated by a family who lost their son to cot death just 4 months after Jo delivered him.

The family asked for her to be recognised because of the support she gave them especially after his death.

Jo has donated her $500 prize money to the family to pay for the baby’s headstone.

Most popular midwife from West Coast

The five winners were selected by the judging panel and readers’ also cast their votes on the Treasures parenting website

Over 4000 votes were cast. Topping the poll and winning the ‘reader’s choice award’ was Greymouth midwife, Jude Bruce.

Jude’s nomination came from a ‘playgroup’ of mothers on the West Coast – Jude delivered all 12 of the children in the playgroup.

“Our winning midwives clearly know their jobs inside out – and also understand their clients’ need to be shown compassion and respect. While these awards single out individual midwives for their dedication, what we really wanted to do was celebrate the excellence of the hundreds of wonderful midwives who are safely delivering babies every day”, Little Treasures Editor, Rosemary Barraclough.

“Some of the stories new mothers submitted told of how they felt humbled by the lengths their midwives had gone to, to empower and support them through their pregnancies, births and beyond. Their amazing stories are gritty, touching and inspiring”.

The winners were presented with their awards and $500 cash from Treasures at an official ceremony in Auckland this evening.


Liz MacLeod - Christchurch

Liz MacLeod from Merivale Midwives has been selected as one of the five inaugural Treasures Star Midwife Winners.

Liz was inspired by her dad, a GP, to become a midwife and has delivered about 3,000 babies in her 30-year career.

Three of Liz’s clients nominated her for the awards. One of them, Claire Shatford, says Liz was enormous support when her baby went into Neo-Natal Intensive Care (NICU). It can be difficult to breastfeed babies when they are in NICU. “Liz was our saviour in this situation.”

Liz wasn’t able to attend the awards in Auckland because of several babies that are due this week.

She will receive a framed copy of her award and $500 from Treasures.

Sharon Weir – Auckland

Sharon Weir from Maternity Associates in Mairangi Bay has been selected as one of the five winners of the inaugural Treasures Star Midwife Award.

Sharon has been a midwife for 24 years and estimates she has delivered 1900 babies in New Zealand and her country of birth, South Africa.

One of Sharon’s clients, Libby Haskell, who suffered from pre-eclampsia but was still able to deliver her baby naturally under Sharon’s expert care, says, “I think Sharon managed an impending emergency situation and achieved the optimal outcome. Her relationship with the other health professionals in the obstetric team was outstanding. She obviously has great respect from both the midwifery team and the medical team she works with.”

Sharon received a framed certificate and $500 cash from Treasures.

Ana Navidad – Hutt Valley (formerly of Rotorua)

Ana Navidad has recently moved to Hutt Hospital where she works as a midwife for the Hutt Valley DHB. She is one of the five inaugural Treasures Star Midwife winners.

Ana has a degree in psychology and worked with troubled youth offenders in Australia before returning to New Zealand to study midwifery in 1999. She began her career in Rotorua about six years ago and the highlight of the job for her is home births. About 20 per cent of Ana’s deliveries have been at the mother’s home.

Ana was nominated for the awards by Reporoa mum of two Auriel Loudon, who had two home births under Ana’s care and says, “Ana gave me confidence in my body, and helped me see that birth was something not to endure as a means to an end, but something special to experience.”

Ana spends a lot of time with the family before a home birth talking to the children about what they will see and hear.

Ana says children are really engaged by the experience and very rarely scared or hard to manage.

Ana received a framed copy of the award and $500 from Treasures.

Jo Coulter - Hamilton

Jo Coulter from Maternal Instinct Midwives has been selected as one of the five inaugural Treasures Star Midwife winners.

Jo worked as a registered nurse for 24 years before becoming a midwife five years ago.

Jo was nominated for these awards by Jessica Booth, from Hamilton. Jessica tragically lost her second son, Kalani, to cot death when he was four months old. Jo had delivered Kalani, was one of the first to offer support when he passed away, and has stayed in close contact with the family.

This year has been particularly difficult for Jo three of her families. A second baby she delivered also died in a cot death incident and another baby was killed in a car crash.

Jo received a framed copy of her award and $500 from Treasures, she plans to give the prize money to the Booth family to pay for Kalani’s headstone.

Jude Bruce – Greymouth

Jude Bruce manages the West Coast DHB Maternity Service and is based at Grey Hospital. She is one of the five inaugural Treasures Star Midwife winners.

Jude received the highest number of nominations, including one from a playgroup of six mums-of-two, who claimed, “All our deliveries have been different – from call-outs in the middle of the night to quick, normal births, severe pre-eclampsia, induction, premature twins and emergency c-sections. Jude was always there with a smile, calm and relaxed and in complete control.”

Another mum told us Jude kept her in her care for 12 months, because she wasn’t prepared to release her until she was cleared of a rare condition, placenta accreta.

Jude has worked as a midwife for over 20 years and introduced her 4 children to midwifery one night some years ago when they were very small.

She was summoned to assist a woman in labour at a home nearby, Jude packed the 4 children into the car planning to get the mother-to-be into hospital. It wasn’t possible, so she delivered baby while her young children became the audience and watched open mouthed as a baby was born.

Jude received the most votes out of the 4,000 in the on-line reader poll at the Treasures Parenting website so she was also honoured with the title of ‘readers’ choice midwife’.

Jude received a framed copy of the award and $500 from Treasures.


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