Jo Carswell knows first hand the ups and downs that come with raising a family.

The mother-of-five, who was expecting her sixth child, used what little spare time she had to help other mums and mums-to-be who were expecting more than one baby.

Carswell was the president of Multiples Bay of Plenty, a charity that supported mothers of twins and triplets throughout the region.

The charity was created 25 years ago and was run by a committee of 11 mothers who all had twins.


"We are a community that supports other mums through this journey of life," she said.

Support was offered in the way of playgroups, online platforms for discussion, essential items and financial support.

The charity had also provided grief support to those families who experienced the loss of a baby and supported families with mental illness as the rate of post-natal depression was higher for parents of twins, Carswell said.

Twins Honor and Ada were 2-years-old but Carswell said having them was a "whole new learning curve".

"Some days you think 'oh my goodness am I going nuts?' but then you have a group of people who are going through the same thing as you, there to support you," she said.

Carswell had been part of the committee for the past two years and had seen the group develop hugely over that time.

The charity worked throughout the Bay of Plenty including Rotorua, Whakatāne, Ōpōtiki and Tauranga where about 100 families used the service. In the past three months, four new mums had signed up.

"Having twins is not as rare as it used to be, it's a lot more common now especially with IVF treatments," Carswell said.

With a growing community of families with multiples, Carswell said she loved the people she met through the charity.

"Life can be difficult enough as it is so having a community of like-minded people around you really helps.

"It really is about the relationships you build and the milestones you go through together."

Want to get involved?

The non-profit group relied on donations from local business and residents and regularly held fundraising events. If you can help out with donations or want to sign up, please contact Jo through