When three-year-old Sam laid eyes on the first baby to be born in Wairarapa in 2016 he asked his parents if he could keep it.

At 3.5kg (seven pounds and 13 ounces), Annabelle Kirton was born at Wairarapa Hospital on New Year's Day.

Proud father Richard Kirton said Sam had been "so cute" after meeting his baby sister for the first time -- asking "can we keep it?".

Even though Annabelle was 10 days overdue, her mother, Sarah Kirton, said the birth of her second child had been a fast one.


"It was pretty intense because of how quick it was," Mrs Kirton said. "But we were expecting it to be quick because [Sam] was quick too, so we knew what we were in for."

The Times-Age yesterday interviewed the Greytown couple, who admitted they "were pretty chipper" -- thanks to visiting parents from the Kapiti Coast, who had been helping them out over the past few days.

It wasn't until the baby girl was two days old that she was named Annabelle Elizabeth McGregor Kirton, the middle two being her mother's middle and maiden names.

"We had a couple of options on the go and decided on Annabelle once we met her and had spent some time with her," said Mr Kirton, a vet with South Wairarapa Veterinary Services. "It just felt right."

He said the birth had gone smoothly.

Mrs Kirton had gone into labour at 5.30 on New Year's morning and Annabelle was born at 8.30am. The couple hadn't known the baby's gender before the birth and both admitted they didn't have a preference.

"I genuinely didn't care, but I had a feeling it would be a girl so I wasn't shocked," Mrs Kirton said.

They said dealing with two children would no doubt make their lives busier, but they weren't anticipating a "life changing shock because we have had a little baby in the house before".

Being a parent was the "toughest job in the world, but you would never change it", they said.

Because Sam was a regular at daycare and he was used to babies, he had been "pretty good" with his little sister. "He definitely knows his life is a bit different now," Mr Kirton said.

Mrs Kirton has taken maternity leave from her job in Wellington at the New Zealand Rugby Union.

The couple wished to acknowledge their midwives, Monika Steinmetz and Rosie Johnson.

"I really liked my experience with Monika and I wanted to have her at the birth," Mrs Kirton said.

Unfortunately Ms Steinmetz was scheduled off duty when the time came. Mr Kirton said Ms Johnson, whom Mrs Kirton met for the first just hours before the birth, had been "fantastic".

"She was so calm and made the experience as pleasant at it could be."

Mrs Kirton said, "We're lucky in the Wairarapa with the midwives, and the maternity service at the hospital is great."

The couple also wished to thank all the businesses who had donated prizes to the First Baby of the Year competition, an annual campaign run by the Times-Age for the past 22 years.

"It's bloody generous," said Mr Kirton.

"We're blown away."