Frances Kissling was a young mother in an abusive relationship when her midwife helped her to become a better version of herself.

More than 20 years later, Kissling is a midwife standing with many others protesting for better pay within the industry.

Forty-six midwives employed by the Lakes District Health Board joined more than 1100 others in a nationwide strike that involved two-hour work stoppages.

The decision to strike was made on November 5 after negotiations between midwives and district health boards, which began last year, failed.


On the last day of the strike today Kissling and more than 20 other midwives stood beyond the hospital grounds to picket one last time - they hope.

Kissling said her midwife changed her life and was the reason she pursued the career.

"She gave me the ability and the power and the confidence to get out of that situation.

"If I can give a little bit back for the woman I care for, just a touch of what she did for me, then I'm honoured."

But Kissling is tired and feels forgotten by the DHBs and the Government. Her love and passion for the people she cares for is not fading, she just wants a sustainable pay.

Kissling said the Government needed to step up to save midwives before they all disappeared overseas for better pay.

Negotiations are set to begin on December 7 and Kissling remains optimistic.

"They need to give us a date where they are going to start paying us an appropriate amount. What we are worth."


In her opinion, hospital midwives were "hugely valuable" to the birthing process for many women.

Midwives want a pay that reflects their workload. Photo / Andrew Warner.
Midwives want a pay that reflects their workload. Photo / Andrew Warner.

Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service (Meras) Rotorua branch co-representative and registered midwife Aimie Watson said core midwives had been offered the same pay scale as nurses.

Watson wanted to clarify that midwifes did not think they were any better than nurses but they were different.

"We look after a mother and child and we have prescribing rights, we save lives, we resus babies. We work our hearts out for 12-hour shifts.

"We have autonomy and we're not paid accordingly."

MERAS proposed lifting the starting salary for midwives from $49,450 to $56,788, which was equivalent to the second step of the nurses' pay scale.

"People think you should do it for love, but love doesn't pay he bills unfortunately."

Lakes District Health Board declined to comment.