The Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre has closed despite desperate attempts from the community to save it.
Just hours after the last person to give birth in the Lower Hutt facility walked out its doors, dozens of women and children packed into the centre to say goodbye to the region's only primary birthing facility.
More than $5 million has been poured into the centre over the last three years by the Wright Family Foundation – but the investment has not been enough to keep the facility afloat.
Director Chloe Wright says the closure is "absolutely devastating".
"Giving birth happens once and you relive it a thousand times, so how it happens is critical. If women are not being cared for, if they're feeling like they have to hide their injuries or their anxieties that will impact their children for the rest of their lives."
She is furious her pleas to the Government for funding have seemingly fallen on deaf ears.
"Previously I said I failed – but I didn't fail. They failed us," she told the crowd.
"I'm crumbling inside but I won't give up. I feel like a very angry mother, and I have a right to feel that way – but it's not about being angry, or being sad. It's about moving forward."
But the way forward is unclear. Hutt South National MP Chris Bishop told the crowd he had faith they could return to the centre.
"We can make this happen again – and I pledge here to try and make that happen."
He says the Government needs to step in and allow women to "follow their choices".
"We have the physical structure in place – it's a purpose-built wonderful modern fresh facility - we just need the funding and the settings to change, we just need a decision from the Government to allow women to follow their choices."
In August, Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall told the Herald while she understood the closure "might be upsetting for some" the decision was purely in the hands of the Wright Foundation.
"As Te Awakairangi is a privately run business, the decision is theirs to make".
Verrall and Minister of Health Andrew Little have both been contacted for further comment.
Te Awakairangi midwife Jessy Salumayi-Masson says the centre was life-changing for the 600 people who gave birth there.
"Some of them had had traumatic birth experiences and when they came here that all changed. It was always positive feedback. I'm very sad to see it closing because I didn't know this would happen and I always hoped the Minister of Health would come in and listen to the voices here."
Salumayi-Masson grew teary thinking about her three years as a midwife in the centre, and the implication its closure has not only for her and her seven children but for the midwives who work in the nearby hospitals.
"I don't know why they can't continue to use this place - we had empty rooms some nights and yet they are so busy [in the hospital] and midwives at the hospital, I feel for them because there's help down the road and they can't get it.
"At the moment I get texts every day from the DHB to see if I can work – and here, we had a facility that was not being utilised."
Parent Centre childbirth educator and mum of three Charlotte Curtis told the Herald she knows of at least one woman who has made a life-changing choice already.
One woman she has spoken to has decided to not have any more children if she can't give birth in Te Awakairangi.
Curtis says the woman had an extremely traumatic hospital birth before having a second child at Te Awakairangi.
"When she came here she felt like her voice was the loudest voice in the room, she was heard and seen and had a really beautiful birth."
Now, with the centre closing, Curtis revealed the woman has decided not to have any more children.
"The trauma she experienced in the hospital was so great she couldn't go back there."
In August Fionnagh Dougan, Hutt Valley and Capital and Coast District Health Board chief executive acknowledged the birthing centre's contribution to the Hutt Valley region.
However, she added funding decisions were made to ensure services met the needs of a wide and diverse population.
"The safety of women, parents and babies is the key priority for our maternity services and is at the centre of all decisions made in regards to their care.
"DHB funding decisions are driven by improving equitable outcomes for our population, with emphasis on clinical safety and creating choices to meet the needs of our population."
But for those families who are anxious for what's to come, clinical midwifery manager Deb Beatson had a message of hope.
"Be strong, be brave and be steadfast as we move into the future."