Hapū māmā and pēpē

Bay of Plenty maternity services are committed to supporting you to incorporate your cultural values into your birth experience, labour and maternity care. This is because we acknowledge and understand that kaupapa Māori traditions and practices will have an influence and an impact on your childbirth experience.

Support to incorporate the cultural beliefs and values of you and your whānau can help you feel safe and make it more likely you will experience a satisfying birth outcome. Included in this section is information about kaupapa Māori traditions, practices and some services in the Bay of Plenty that can offer support to you and your whānau.

On this page

Whenua (placenta)

Whenua (also called the placenta or afterbirth) has a particular importance to Māori people because of the spiritual and physical connection between the whenua and the land. Because of this connection, there is sacredness around the care of the whenua.

Tauranga and Whakatāne Hospital

Our staff recognise the special significance of the whenua.  We encourage māmā who are keeping their whenua to find a whānau member to take the whenua home directly from the delivery suite. 

When complications such as infections, bleeding, prematurity, or a sick baby, occur in your pregnancy, or at the time of birth, the doctor may recommend and request your permission to send your whenua for examination. This may give important information that can help to explain what has happened and to improve the care we give you in future pregnancies.

The whenua tests require your informed consent and an explanation about them will be provided before any testing is carried out. We will try to return the whenua to you as soon as we can. Testing of the whenua usually takes about seven days. 

Please let staff know if you need your whenua returned quickly and they will clearly document this on the request form that goes with the whenua to the laboratory.  

Primary birthing facilities

All staff in primary birthing facilities across Bay of Plenty recognise the special significance of the whenua.  We encourage māmā who are keeping their whenua to find a whānau member to take the whenua home directly from the birth room.