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Midwives Gather For Conference In Christchurch

More than 500 midwives will attend the biennial national conference in Christchurch starting on Thursday.

In November 2021, the College was to hold one of the first conferences in the new conference centre Te Pae in however it was cancelled due to Covid-19.

College Chief Executive Alison Eddy.

College Chief Executive, Alison Eddy, says the conference is eagerly anticipated as the last few years have been incredibly challenging for midwives, who have stepped up without missing a beat.

“Our profession grows and expands with the sharing of knowledge and experiences,” she says. “The theme of this year’s conference is *Whanaungatanga, which really encapsulates our coming together to re-connect, re-energise and celebrate with our midwifery colleagues after a difficult few years.”

Keynote speakers and topics include Dr Kelly Tikao: Rejuvenating Ngai Tahu customary birthing practices – what does this look, sound and feel like?; Talei Jackson: Valuing vā and voice: Nurturing Pasifika relationships; and best-selling author, speaker and researcher Dr Rachel Reed who will present The Power of Relationships in Reclaiming Birth and Dr Naomi Simonds who will speak on Supporting Maternal Wellbeing in the Context of Whānau, Whenua and Wairua.

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Ms Eddy says midwives are critical part of the health service and the predominant professional group providing maternity services. With the current health system reform underway the conference provides a great opportunity to gather and discuss the future of the profession and the key role it plays in improving outcomes.

“Conferences provide great opportunities for ideas to flourish, for new ideas to emerge, and for us to challenge our thinking. We are looking forward to robust discussion, new knowledge and learning being shared, as well as the laughter and fun that’s always there when midwives get together. Relationships are what sustain us, particularly when times are challenging, which is why this year's conference theme is so apt for our present circumstances with significant workforce challenges affecting the profession,” adds Ms Eddy.

The conference provides us with an opportunity to harness our collective thinking and voices. The profession will no doubt have some powerful messages to share with policy makers, politicians and health system leaders both during and following the conference, as the profession deliberates on the solutions needed to grow and strengthen the number and capacity of midwifery to address the significant workforce issues and increasing demands that midwives are facing.

This year, the College has implemented a co-president model. On Friday 3rd November, the two new co-Presidents will be introduced to the audience; the outgoing president is Nicole Pihema.

* Whanaungatanga is about making and maintaining relationships. These relationships create a sense of belonging, obligation, support, responsibilities and roles. These relationships are not necessarily about whanau or blood relationships and focus on cohesive relationships that result in benefits to the group rather than individuals.

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