Queen's Birthday honours: Sue Bree

By Mike Dinsdale

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Being a midwife is the "best job in the world" and as well as giving Bay of Islands woman Sue Bree a lifetime of great memories, midwifery has earned her recognition from the Queen.

Ms Bree, who has been a midwife in Northland for three decades, was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in today's Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours.

She accepted the award on behalf of all midwives, but it was only when she received a letter from the prime minister last week confirming the honour that it started to sink in.

"I still can't get my head around it, but when I think about it seriously I feel really, really humbled.

"I don't know why me because there are a lot of other people doing outstanding work in our community and a lot of other midwives that have contributed to this amazing profession in New Zealand, but there you go."

She has lost count of the number of babies she has brought into this world, but after 30 years of being there for mothers she's taking great pleasure from seeing some of the women she helped bring into the world now using her as their midwife.

"[Being a midwife] can be an emotional roller coaster at times, but having women who I have delivered as babies now wanting me to be their midwives is really special. It's wonderful to see that whole circle."

And she had some advice for anybody considering a career in midwifery. "It's the most fabulous job imaginable. It's a very rewarding and satisfying career."

As one of the first self-employed midwives in Northland, with clients drawn from largely rural, unemployed or socially disadvantaged sectors, Ms Bree has served the region in several capacities - she's the midwifery member of maternity-related committees, was chairwoman of the Northland region of the NZ College of Midwives and was pivotal in making Northland's midwives a cohesive group. She was also made an elder of the college in 2008 and has served three terms as president.

She is also an Asia-Pacific representative on the International Confederation of Midwives.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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