People are being urged to get in quick for a spot in the July class of a hapū wānanga for pregnant women and their whānau.

Lakes District Health Board, in collaboration with key stakeholders in the Rotorua community, launched the wānanga on Wednesday and Thursday at Apumoana Marae.

The hapū wānanga provides advice and support around pregnancy, birthing and breastfeeding, with a particular focus on Māori tikanga (customs) and traditional practices.

Classes are inclusive of women of all ethnicities and demographics, who are near term but spaces are limited to 15 women per class - with additional support people welcome.


The course runs over two days and aims to provide an environment that is welcoming and makes it easier for the whole whānau to take part.

Lactation consultant Amy Wray said they especially wanted partners and family members to feel fully involved in the learning process.

"We will deliver the content in a way that is fun and relevant to them, as well as the mothers.

"The content of the wānanga is underpinned by a Māori worldview and our traditional practices."

Referrals into the hapū wānanga are through the Kia Wana Lakes Baby-Rotorua Facebook page, by calling 0800 525 372 or by filling in a tick box referral form found at LMC/GP clinics.

The June course was fully booked but women are encouraged to register for the next one.

Local weavers will also attend the wānanga to teach muka tie and promote the wahakura (woven flax bassinet) workshops where whānau can weave their own wahakura.

The Breastfeeding Service will have lactation consultants and midwives present throughout the whole wānanga.

Each day there will be guest speakers who will deliver key messages and provide unique input into the classes, including yoga, mirimiri and stop smoking services.

The hapu wānanga curriculum also includes an opening with whakatau ( Maori welcome), karakia (prayers) and whakawhanaungatanga (introductions and relationship building).

There will be time for exploring and discussing traditional Māori birthing and parenting practices such as ipu whenua, making muka tie, cutting the cord, karakia, oriori (lullabies) and rongoa Māori (Māori medicine)

Safe Sleep will be a key component of the course and pepi pods and wahakura will be distributed to participants who attend the full course.