When former Shortland Street star Beulah Koale's twin sons were born, they were three months' premature and about the size of one of his palms.

They were fragile in every sense of the word and, as a result, spent much of their early lives being cared for at North Shore Hospital, in Auckland.

The Koale boys, Isaac and Xavier, are now cheerful 18-month-old tots keeping mum Georgia Otene and their dad on their toes.

"These boys were born three months early. Isaac was weighing 670 grams and Xavier was 1100 grams," he said.


"Isaac was a little bit smaller than my hand, Xavier a little bit bigger."

Beulah Koale and his partner Georgia Otene speak about how North Shore Hospital saved their babies lives. North Shore and Waitakere Hospitals are fundraising for a new simulator baby to help train their doctors and nurses. / Well Foundation

Koale, currently in Hawaii, continues to thrive in his acting career; off the back of starring in American war film Thank You For Your Service and as one of the new cast members of hit action drama series Hawaii Five-0.

He is now supporting a push to fundraise for a $43,000 baby manikin, or baby simulator, used to help train medical staff who face emergencies or cases such as that of the Koale boys.

"If it wasn't for you guys, I don't know what my life would be like right now, so thank you.''

Funds to buy the manikin are being raised by the Well Foundation, which is the charity that supports North Shore and Waitākere hospitals and community health services in those regions, extending to Rodney.

Hospital clinical nurse educator Kerryn Shaw said the manikin was a tool that helped nurses and doctors train for real-life emergencies or critical scenarios.

"What sim baby offers us is the ability to practice scenarios with a sense of realism,'' she said.

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"It does everything from moving, it has seizures, heart rates, breathing and I can change its heart rate and they way that it breathes to replicate what a newborn would do.''

The manikin is programmed by a computer and could react to a certain issue, rather than being prompted.

Foundation chief executive Andrew Young said one of their focuses was to support nurses to be the best they could through additional training opportunities and having access to state-of-the-art equipment - such as the simulator baby.

"We work with the Waitemata District Health Board to fund projects and initiatives that improve health outcomes, lift the quality of patient experience and deliver world-class care."

The total cost of the manikin is just over $43,100 - of which almost $12,000 had been raised as of last night. A #nameTheBabyManikin competition is also running on Facebook to help raise awareness.

*To donate, visit the fundraising page.