MEDIA RELEASES

Community Midwife Retires After Delivering Almost 1000 Babies

After helping deliver almost 1000 babies, community midwife Mary McEwen has retired from community maternity service provider Te Puawai Ora. There was an outpouring of praise for Mary from the community after her January 6 retirement was announced.

Mary is Whangarei born and bred and has always lived and worked in Northland, beginning as a Playcentre worker at Maungatapere 25 years ago. Mary then trained as a Karitane nurse and worked for Plunket for ten years then becoming a registered nurse with Northland DHB in 1997. Following this, Mary completed midwifery training in 1999. Mary has carefully recorded every birth she has been associated with and the total is 950 births.

Mary’s role has been to link mothers with the 24 midwives across four practices in Whangarei and to serve as midwife herself for any mums who need her services.

“Just last year I delivered a baby here in Whangarei in the new maternity unit. A woman had arrived from Auckland. She had been on holiday and had two weeks til she was due but went into labour unexpectedly.”

Mary delivered three babies the year before but has been second midwife at many more births, which she says is essential for keeping up her antenatal, postnatal and delivery experience.

The two most important changes Mary says she’s seen over the years is the set-up of Whangarei Hospital’s Te Kotuku maternity unit in 2016, and also setting up the ‘one stop shop’ of Te Puawai Ora where nursing services, education classes, immunisation services, lactation consultants and midwifery can be accessed by whānau under one roof.

Mary still has children in her life now that she is retired, with seven grandchildren and two adult children. Gardening and serving as vice president of the Whangarei Country Music Club keeps Mary busy on Sundays and there are country music events to enjoy in Paihia and Hokianga each year.

The new Northland DHB community midwife is Rebecca Harrison.



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