Wahakura sent to parents in crisis in Kaikoura

By Aroha Treacher
  • Northland
  • Auckland
  • North Island: East Coast
  • South Island

Weavers from around the country have gifted some traditional Māori sleeping capsules, known as the wahakura, to new mothers and expectant mothers forced into adverse living conditions in the quake-stricken region of Kaikōura to give their babies a safe bed.

"They were sent from Hastings, Auckland, Te Taitokerau, Te Tairāwhiti to Kaikōura to help fill the need in that region," says Dr David Tipene-Leach.

"When you're put into a situation where you've had to rush out of your home you've taken what you could and you can't get back in to get them and you're worried about your children and you have someone like David who has sent them down to help that whānau to just take a little bit of weight off, it's fantastic," says Rawinia Edwards Community Safe Sleep Co-ordinator, Hawke's Bay DHB.

It takes about 4-5 years for harakeke to grow and around 6-8 weaving hours to produce a wahakura which are then given to mothers who meet certain criteria. The initiative at the Hawke's Bay DHB sees them making 25 a month at this stage.

"Dr Tipene-Leach put a call out to send up to 36 wahakura to the Kaikōura people, people who have been displaced from homes with babies or those that are expecting to give birth in the next 2-4 weeks," says Head Weaver Riwa Wawatai.

As aftershocks still rumble through the South Island, the wahakura can bring mothers that little bit of comfort and protection.