Former midwife Kristin Collings, from Te Horo, has received a New Zealand College of Midwives Wellington region certificate of midwifery lifetime membership award.

She was among four people recognised in the inaugural awards.

Kristin says she was humbled by the award.

"It wasn't until the next day that it really hit home how special it was."

Advertisement

Kristin was nominated by the Nikau Midwives who she used to work for.

Part of the citation said: "Kristin's philosophy of believing in women and making them believe in themselves underpinned her practice and resonated throughout her vast career.

"Midwifery is personal to Kristin.

"As a midwife working in a relatively small community, she delights in the connections built on trust and communication she made with families and speaks of her clients with affection and pride."

Kristin Collings. Photo / David Haxton
Kristin Collings. Photo / David Haxton

Kristin's career started in 1970 when she was the delivery suite charge sister at St Helens, in Wellington.

By 1973 she was a public health nurse in Wellington and then in 1975 was charge practice nurse at Waitangirua Health Centre.

From 1980 she was midwife at Ōtaki and Levin maternity units before becoming practice midwife and practice nurse at Waikanae Health Centre in 1992.

From 1996 she was lead maternity carer with Kāpiti Midwives and in 1998 formed Paraparaumu based Nikau Midwives with colleagues.

Advertisement

Kristin didn't work after an accident in 2014 when she fell down a bank at her home suffering a fractured skull.

"It [recovery] was hard work getting back."

Throughout the years Kristin enjoyed the challenge midwifery brought.

"You never knew what you would come across next and how you would cope with it.

"Working rurally was also a lot more difficult because you've got your base hospital 60km away which meant you had to make very definite decisions and always be on the ball."

One such instance was when she got a call from an Ōtaki woman who was going to have twins in Wellington Hospital.

The woman, whose husband was overseas, thought her membrane might have ruptured.
Getting an ambulance to her wasn't straightforward, due to health boundaries, so Kristin drove up and found the woman "well on her way".

"I just gathered her up, put her in my car, and off we went.

"As we crossed the Ōtaki bridge she said 'I want to push' so we puffed and panted all the way to Paraparaumu Maternity Unit where she had her first twin."

And then while Kristin was feeling around, and on the phone to a specialist, the membrane of the second baby ruptured.

"The baby was lying across and the hand had slid up. We went straight into an ambulance and off to Wellington Hospital.

"All the way down I couldn't listen to the heartbeat because of the sirens but every so often I would lift up the blanket and flick the fingers and they would move.

"So we had a city girl and a country girl.

"It was births like that when you had to act on your instincts.

"The biggest thing is keeping your feet on the ground so you can make clear decisions."

Kristin loved keeping track of "her families" especially via social media.

"And being in a smaller community you're always running into people."

"I still get a big thrill catching up with families and seeing these kids grow and their achievements."

She praised her husband Mike who had been very supportive through the years.

"I couldn't have done it without him backing me."

Kristin looks back on her career with fondness and treasured memories.

"I had a vocation which I loved."