The woman behind a first of its kind birthing centre in Tauranga is seeking birth stories from different cultures as construction begins. The stories will be collected and shared with mums-to-be at the all new $5 million Bethlehem Birthing Centre when the building is completed next year.

The centre will occupy the second storey of a new building being built at the corner of State Highway 2 and Carmichael Rd.

In August, the Bay of Plenty Times revealed plans for the new centre. It is the first privately operated, publicly funded birthing centre in the region, with the Bay of Plenty District Health Board paying for each birth and postnatal stay at the centre as they occur.

The centre is the brainchild of Tauranga businesswoman Chloe Wright, who said the centre was about providing a journey rather than just focusing on the birthing experience. It was for this reason that she was collecting birth experience stories from different cultures.


Ms Wright used the Samoan culture as an example, where both mother and baby were often massaged, she said.

"I want to gather information from different cultures and birthing experiences and gather that information and share it with new mothers so they know, really know, how it is for them."

Ms Wright said the start of construction was exciting.

The birthing centre is expected to open in October next year.

Birth customs

*Netherlands: A duty of the nurse is to manage visitors and make a snack to celebrate a birth: beschuit met muisjes.
Japan: After leaving the hospital, mother and baby often stay at the mother's parents' home for a month or longer. Friends may drop by to greet the new baby.
*Brazil: Once mother and baby leave the hospital, visitors flock to their home. They give a gift to the baby and receive one in return.
*Turkey: Friends drop by and drink a special beverage called lohusa serbeti. Mother and child make return visits to gift-givers' homes, where they receive gifts of an egg (for a healthy baby) and candy (for a good-natured baby).