Celebrating Safe Sleep Day: Weaving for future generations
Te Waka Hauora, Nelson Marlborough Health’s Maori Health & Vulnerable Populations team recently held their first Nelson hapū wānanga, a new kaupapa Māori pregnancy, birth and parenting programme.
This new initiative also marked the celebration of Te Ra Mokopuna (National Safe Sleep Day) on 7 December, with local weavers supporting our communities throughout Te Tau Ihu o te Waka a Maui (the top of the South Island) to promote wahakura (woven baby bed) and safe sleeping practices for tamariki mokopuna.
The two-day pregnancy and parenting forum is part of Nelson Marlborough Health’s response to Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) Prevention. The key modifiable risk factors for SUDI prevention, such as stopping smoking in pregnancy, breastfeeding and using safe sleeping practices will feature in the hapū wānanga programme.
A wahakura weaving demonstration with kairaranga (weavers) Lyn Bird and Ala Ward showcased the skills required to make these taonga (treasures). Wahakura embody the Māori concept of whakapapa as ‘he taonga tuku iho’ – a gift passed down from our ancestors. They are a symbol of matauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), and a practical and safe place for pēpi (baby) to sleep.
Hapū wānanga is an interactive programme and draws on traditional Māori childbirth practices, pūrakau (stories) and karakia. Pregnant women and their wider whānau support are invited to attend.
On completion of the wānanga, all participants receive a wahakura and koha pack that includes baby essentials and gifts to welcome their new pēpi.
Safe Sleep Day is about encouraging communities and organisations to promote safe sleep practice in creative and fun ways. Further information about Safe Sleep Day is available on the SUDI National Coordination website: www.SUDInationalcoordination.co.nz
More hapū wānanga are scheduled around the district next year.