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A new birthing centre in Māngere is at less than half capacity and can't get taxpayer funding, despite Middlemore Hospital struggling with demand.

Nga Hau Māngere opened in May, and is free for women registered with a midwife with an access agreement, and whose pregnancy is low-risk.

Women can stay for three nights after giving birth and have their own room with ensuite. Fathers can stay for the first night.

There have been 25 births there so far, but only seven of 20 birthing suites are used. The purpose-built centre is funded by the Wright Family Foundation charitable trust, and