He came into the world more than two weeks early, but Hawke's Bay's first baby born in 2018 was happily oblivious to any drama he may have caused at Hawke's Bay Hospital's Waioha maternity unit yesterday.

Parents Rachael and Levi Kroot from Hastings welcomed their second child, Wilbur Kroot, into the world at 1am on January 1, ahead of his expected due date of January 19.

Mrs Kroot said it was always on the cards he would arrive early as this was the case with his older brother, 20-month-old Louie.

"We were prepared and we made it a bit further through the pregnancy than last time - it all went really well," she said.


After heading to hospital at 11pm on New Year's Eve, Wilbur was born two hours later after a trouble-free labour.

Having a birthday on New Year's Day was special, Mrs Kroot said, and the pair were glad he wasn't born any earlier.

"We were hoping it wouldn't be Christmas - this has been an exciting way to bring in the New Year," Mrs Kroot said.

Sleeping peacefully yesterday morning, Wilbur needed to undergo some medical checks to ensure everything was as it should be, and the family expected to head home in a couple of days.

Although all was peaceful in the Waioha birthing suite, it had been a frantic few days in other maternity areas, said midwife Eneritz Echeverria.

"We have had lots of babies being born - on New Year's Eve one of my colleagues started at 4am rather than 7am to help out."

She said yesterday there was only one empty bed in the delivery ward, with three available at Waioha.

About 170 babies were expected to be born in New Zealand on New Year's Day, with new predictions suggesting on average they would live long enough to see in the new century.

Unicef data showed these children would be likely to live until 2100, would be able to take in 21 Rugby World Cups, and celebrate the 260th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

New Zealand babies would account for just 0.044 per cent of the estimated 385,793 babies expected to be born globally on New Year's Day.