Having a baby can be overwhelming at the best of times. Sleep deprived and vulnerable, it can feel like there's nowhere to turn for support outside of your family unit.
For first time father and The Hits host, Sam Wallace, being able to make middle-of-the-night calls to Plunket's helpline has been a godsend.
"When you're like, what the frick do we do, and you get this calm, caring consultant on the phone, it's bloody brilliant," Wallace says of the Kiwi charity dedicated to providing support services to children under 5.
Wallace's son, Brando, now 5 months old, is in the 97th percentile for height and weight.
"Having a baby that doesn't fit the norm is tough," shares the new dad. Parenting in general is harder than Wallace imagined. "I thought, the average Jo Bloggs does this. I'm used to early starts. You think it'll be tough. It's 10 times harder than that."
But Wallace says the support from Plunket has been nothing short of "awesome".
Meanwhile, fellow The Hits host and mum of three, Toni Street, says even with her third baby, she's felt the benefits of Plunket's help.
"Even after you've had three kids, you still forget things," Street says, noting the level of tiredness you experience is like nothing else.
But it's trips to Plunket that have helped keep Street on track and been an opportunity to ask the questions many parents have. "I'm still in the midst of regular checkups," Street says of her third baby, Lachie. Now 10 months, her little boy is also in the 98th percentile for weight. Street says being able to ask Plunket questions about milk and solids has been extremely helpful.
Wallace, Street and The Hits team are behind a three week drive to raise money for Plunket.
In conjunction with the fundraiser, this morning The Hits whānau and their babies were treated to a concert with Anika Moa.
The beloved Kiwi singer and TV personality is also a mother of four. She tells the Herald she's loved having home visits from Māori Plunket with her daughter, Marigold.
"They come and kōrero to me and my baby. It's very whānau driven."
Plunket spokesperson Nin Roberts says working with The Hits has been fantastic. She notes "they are really honest about the struggles they have being a parent" and acknowledges it's "good to keep it real!"
Plunket's mission is to help families and whānau make the best choices for the first 1000 days of their child's life. Everything they do is to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of all tamariki, and the adults they'll become.
How you can get involved
• Blue Week for Plunket
June 17 to 23. Choose a day to wear fun mufti and make a gold coin donation to Plunket.
1. Dress in blue (in your coffee or parenting group, workplace, at home, at your local school or favourite cafe) any day this week.
2. Collect money (encourage everyone involved to donate a gold coin or more to Plunket).
3. Donate to Plunket (send the funds via bank account or make an online donation to go towards Plunket community services).
• Plugs for Plunket
The Hits is running all day shows with "Plugs for Plunket". Businesses are encouraged to call in and get a plug for a donation. Everyone that donates goes in the draw to win return flights for two to Fiji thanks to Air NZ Grabaseat.
Next week bite size fundraisers are happening around the country, including bucket shaking and sausage sizzles.
Keep an extra ear out on Friday, June 28. Announcers will be on air from 6am-10pm to pledge donations.