Delivering a baby best birthday present

By Jonathan Dine

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FAMILY TIES: Pania Rowe and her great-aunt Meka Whaitiri with Pania's son, Wi Rangiwhaitiri Te Akonga Ruapani Te Atua, at Kohupatiki Marae. PHOTO/DUNCAN BROWN
FAMILY TIES: Pania Rowe and her great-aunt Meka Whaitiri with Pania's son, Wi Rangiwhaitiri Te Akonga Ruapani Te Atua, at Kohupatiki Marae. PHOTO/DUNCAN BROWN

Bringing a baby into the world was the best birthday present Meka Whaitiri could have asked for.

The Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP was celebrating her 51st birthday with a family lunch at Napier RSA on Monday when she got a text from her pregnant niece asking her to come home.

This was followed by a "hurry" text and a "please hurry" shortly after.

Pania Rowe was at her home in Awatoto when her waters broke.

The birth of her first child was complicated, so she had a detailed birth plan which included a specialist, a midwife and an epidural.

However, her son was in a rush and "wasn't waiting for anyone".

"He was keen, all right," Ms Whaitiri said.

While the birthing team made their way to the home, Ms Whaitiri arrived to assist her niece.

"When I got there I could see baby's head - he was coming and there was no one to deliver him."

She thought, "I've never delivered a baby, what do I do?"

Ms Whaitiri said she was wracked with nerves. "The main thing I told myself was to stay calm."

Just an hour after the first text, at about 2.35pm, Wi Rangiwhaitiri Te Akonga Ruapani Te Atua was born, weighing 4kg (9lb).

Ms Rowe didn't get to hospital, had no pain relief, required only two pushes and didn't need a single stitch.

"She's a legend - 20 minutes later she was walking around and took a shower," Ms Whaitiri said.

She said the baby was happy and healthy. "Something or someone was watching over us, It was so emotional we had a big cry."

Ms Whaitiri lost her father, Wi Rangi Wiremu Whaitiri, earlier this year.

"We knew he was carrying Dad's name, so that was extra special."

Sharing this moment and bringing new life into the world was the best birthday present.

"I'm thankful and happy to have played a little part."

The Labour MP will have a great story to tell at caucus when everyone talks about what they did during summer.

"It will be a hard one to top."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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