Whitinga ora pēpi: A New Zealand first service transforming care for babies and their whānau

A vital service is transforming care for babies and their whānau, setting them up for the best possible start in life. The first of its kind in Aotearoa New Zealand, Whitinga ora pēpi is designed to support parents with babies who require a high level of support.  

Its name can be interpreted as ‘babies transitioning to wellness.’ This speaks to the whānau-centred approach at its heart, which works to improve access to equitable, compassionate and high-quality care for all babies. 

Evidence shows that similar services internationally have led to a range of improvements in short and long-term outcomes. This includes improved attachment and bonding, reduced length of average hospital stay and likelihood of readmission, improved breastfeeding rates and improved parental confidence. 

Whitinga ora pēpi was set up in collaboration with Starship’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Te Toka Tumai Women’s Health.  

Critical to its establishment was Starship Foundation Five Star Partner Barfoot & Thompson, who generously funded all of its furnishings and equipment. 

“I want to say a huge thank you to Barfoot & Thompson for giving us what we needed to get Whitinga ora pēpi up and running,” says Rebecca Clark, Co-Charge Midwife Whitinga ora pēpi. 

“It’s had a huge impact on not only our team here, but every whānau that’s come through the door.” 

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