Your Committee

Mel Nicholson

Mel Nicholson

Chair

My name is Mel Nicholson and I have been a midwife working in the Auckland region for the past 9 years. I have held a variety of different maternity roles; core staff, midwife coordinator, team leader of a regional CADS Pregnancy and Parenting service, and currently am a self-employed midwife working on the North Shore with a moderate, diverse caseload. My midwifery philosophy is embedded in equitable, culturally safe maternity care for all New Zealanders. I am excited and motivated about advancing midwifery within the wider health sector and I am currently undertaking a master’s in public health. I have experience representing midwifery at DHB, Northern Region and Ministry of Health level and seek to challenge the systems and processes that disadvantage women’s health and contribute to midwifery being consistently underfunded and undervalued. I am passionate about improving the midwifery stakeholder role in the wider health sector and with the current Health NZ reforms, believe now is the time for strong leadership to advance our profession.  Representing all midwives; self employed, hospital employed and those in specialised midwifery roles is key to ensuring a sustainable, rewarding model of maternity care is developed under Health NZ. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to represent all midwives in Tāmaki Makaurau as co-chairs. We are both strong advocates for māmā and midwives, and we believe that in partnership, we can represent our region in a productive and dynamic manner. Jax and I have worked closely over the past four years, and bring diverse worldviews and a shared partnership vision for our midwifery whanau.

 

 

Jax Paki

Jax Paki

Chair

Ko Hikurangi toku Maunga
Ko Makatote toku Awa
Ko Horouta toku Waka
Ko Moana-nui-a-kiwa toku Moana
Ko Hiruharama toku Marae
Ko Kapohanga toku Wharenui
Ko Nga Tama Toa toku Wharekai
Ko Mikaere toku Wharekarakia
Ko Huria toku Urupa
Ko Te Tiriti O Waitangi Paki toku Papa
Ko Judith Cunningham toku Mama
Ko Cascade Reihana toku matamua
Ko Paewaka Kupenga toku tama
Ko Terrence Cunningham toku tama
Ko Orowai Parae toku potiki.
Ko Jacquelyn Paki ahau.

My Midwifery journey has opened up a whole new Worldview that I have learnt to appreciate what is happening outside of myown world. I have juggled being a mother to 4 beautiful tamariki, completing my full time degree in 2020 I set up my LMC practice Te Whare Tangata, during the pandemic from afar as I had to also take full time care and homeschool my bi-lingual tamariki on my own during the pandemic.

Within my Midwifery degree and short career I have worked with various different Midwivesand Whānau who have broadened my horizons of understanding. I have become an Independent Māori Midwife who services the wants and needs for the Community of Waitemata, Auckland and Counties with a holistic approach to Wellbeing. I use a tikanga Māori approach that utilises Māori, Pacific and Indigenous frameworks alike to create care that is whānau based. I work with our most vulnerable, wāhine and tamariki at one of the most vulnerable times for wāhine. There is a need for more Midwives, in particular Māori with the rise in Māori birth rates, so we need to be fairly represented in all areas and levels of Health, Midwifery included.

Last year my Midwifery sister’s and I set up Hapūtanga Wananga from our clinic Te Whare Tangata. Our kaupapa was set on tikanga Whenua ki te Whenua, upholding the Mana and importance of the whenua, nga Atua Rei and their roles in our traditional birthing practices, the use of musical instruments, sounds, tools and practices used pre colonisation to today.

It is important to revitalise these practices as options for whānau to be able to connect and create birthing stories, purakau and their own tikanga in and around Hapūtanga. We were privileged to have tuakana in our space to help ensure our kaupapa is upholding the Mana of those utilising this service that has a lack of funding and support which needs to be addressed in the new Māori Health reforum.

I want to continue my academic education by doing my Master of Midwifery, specifically Māori Health. With the rise of Midwifery in social media as the retention rate of Midwives declines and birth rates rise, it is creating an unbalanced workforce that has immense pressure on those currently working and those preparing to come out and help our fellow sisters. There has been much negative media for Oranga Tamariki, mandates, equitable funding which has brought eyes upon their current systems in place. There are many gaps, the most important I feel is decolonising ourselves as individuals to work ethically to provide a culturally sustainable practice that allows trust to be built overtime in order to achieve positive healthy outcomes for wāhine, pepi and their whānau. This starts with myself working in partnership with stakeholders and New Zealand College of Midwives to forecast a plan toreach the wants, needs and goals of the college collectives.

Whilst I’m in the process of doing my Master’s at AUT focusing on Vulnerable Families and how we can use a holistic approach to create positive healthy outcomes for all those involved to be able to make fully informed decisions. We all know that it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to raise a Midwife. Linking these kaupapa I hope to help decolonise whānau I work with as well as my Midwifery sisters and health professionals I will be working with on this journey. I look forward to what may lay ahead for my furthered educational journey. For those of us in the workforce and those yet to graduate it is of utmost importance to ensure our voices are heard now and in the future.

Lisa Mravicich

Lisa Mravicich

Treasurer

Hi, my name is Lisa Mravicich and I have been a midwife at Counties Manukau since graduating in 2014. Up until last year, I was working as a core midwife alternating between Birthing and Assessment Unit and Maternity Ward. I have been privileged to work in such a diverse community and while at times it has been challenging, there was always excitement at not knowing what each day will bring.

After a lot of reflection in 2018, I transitioned into a jointly funded role between the Liggins Institute, UOA and Kidz First, Counties Manukau as a Research Midwife. The main component of this role has been to set up and manage clinical trials aiming to improve lifelong health for women, children and their families. I believe that embedding a research culture into practice plays an important role in discovering better and more innovative ways to deliver care and improve outcomes for our community. I am also the Counties Manukau ONTRACK co-ordinator helping to provide education on research findings and their implications for practice.

 

Mahia Winder

Mahia Winder

Midwife Representative

Tena Koutou Katoa.
Ko Tongariro te Maunga
Ko Taupo te Moana
Ko Parewahwaha te Marae
Ko Ngati Tuwharetoa Ngati Raukawa nga Iwi
Ko Mahia Winder ahau

I have been a Registered Midwife for 23 years, and in that time have worked across the scope. My current role is working at AUT as Maori Midwifery Liaison Midwife. Prior to this role I spent nearly 14 years at ADHB, originally in the role of an Acting Charge Midwife. I was then appointed to the position of Maori Midwifery Advisor.

Gail McIver

Gail McIver

Midwife Representative

I’m Gail McIver and are the Midwife Manager of Birthing and Assessment at Middlemore Hospital.

I have been a midwife and a member of the NZ College of Midwives since 1994.  I started my nursing and midwifery career in Taranaki and worked both as a core and LMC midwife in New Plymouth before moving to Auckland in 1997, where I have since worked as a hospital midwife in Counties.

I am standing for the Auckland Region NZCOM committee member as I would like to be part of our regional professional body. I bring with me experience in core clinical work across the scope of practise and management.  I have been a past committee member of the PMMRC and the Neonatal Encephalopathy working group.  My fundamental drive is to see woman receive quality and equity of care and to strive to ensure that midwives have a leading voice in delivery of midwifery care, clinically, professionally and politically.

I would like to offer my midwifery passion, knowledge and experience to the Auckland Regional College of Midwives to be part of the 2020 committee.

Ann Taiapa Johnson

Ann Taiapa Johnson

Midwife Representative, Maori

Ko Pātangata te maunga
Ko Whare Kāhika te awa
Ko Te Moana nui a Kiwa te moana
Ko Horouta te waka
Ko Hine Maurea to marae
Ko Te Whānau a Tūwhakairiora tōku hapu
Ko Ngāti Porou tōku iwi
I tipu ake ahau ki Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa
Ko Annmarie Taiapa-Johnson tōku ingoā

Ka mahi tahi mātou, kia ohoka te pitomata hai puananī – We will work together as one in order to awaken potentiality to move freely in any direction

In my opinion, this whakatauki speaks to the potential of working together that allows space through knowledge sharing, resolution development opening up avenues for the future (up incoming midwives).

I have been a registered midwife for fifteen years.  I relocated to Tāmaki Makaurau in August 2020, to undertake the role of kaiwhakahaere charge midwife of Te Manawa o Hine, the Māori Midwifery team for Te Toka Tumai (ADHB).  I am passionate about equity for whānau Māori and embedding Matauranga Māori into practice.  I am guided by Te Tiriti o Waitangi that enables tino rangatiratanga, ōritetanga and mana motuhake, as a true representation of equal partnership with iwi Māori.

I completed my Postgraduate Diploma Māori Health at the end of 2021 and am currently on my Te Reo Māori journey with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.  I am a Midwifery Standards Reviewer and QLP assessor.

Victoria Christian

Victoria Christian

MERAS Representative

My name is Victoria Christian.  I have been a midwife for 6 years, graduating from AUT in 2014.  Throughout my career I have worked in primary, secondary, and tertiary settings.  I have been a  MERAS workplace representative at North Shore hospital and now at Auckland DHB. I am also the Auckland DHB MERAS representative on the MERAS National Representative Council.

My work with MERAS has given me the opportunity to be part of the DHB midwives pay equity interview team, participate in workplace reviews relating to Model of Care, organise rallies during the 2018/2019 strikes, and be a voice for my colleagues where needed.  My experiences have given me a balanced view of the challenges employed midwives regularly face.

Arlene Oram

Arlene Oram

Midwife Representative

My name is Arlene (she/her), originally from the UK, I qualified from Bournemouth University with first class honours in 2016. Whilst in the UK, I worked in a busy NHS tertiary hospital before moving to Tāmaki Makaurau in January 2019.

Since moving to Aoteoroa, I worked full time as a core midwife on the Labour and Birthing Suite at Auckland DHB until transitioning into LMC practice in May 2021 in central Auckland. I am dedicated to providing compassionate, inclusive and kind care to the LGBTQIA+ Takatāpui community. The majority of my caseload identify as queer or as part of the rainbow community and I am passsionate about bringing about change and removing social stigma and barriers for those outside of the cisgendered-heterosexual norms. I aim to ensure that anyone who is living in a marginalised body is seen, heard and respected.

I endeavour to honour te tiriti, acknowledging the wisdom and power of the tohunga, wāhine, women, midwives and birthing people who have come before me.

Being a midwife is in my soul; it has informed and shaped the woman I am today and I am continuously in awe of the power and strength of the women and birthing people that I have the privilege of caring for.

Pregnancy is a life changing event, not just for the tiny humans that we welcome into this world, but in the creation of new parents along the way. I believe that in order to enact change and uplift the profession of midwifery; we must focus on those in our care, without losing sight of the mana of the midwives who walk alongside the whānau in our communities.

Maddison Barton (2)

Maddison Barton

Student Representative

Kia ora koutou, my name is Maddy and I am a midwifery student at AUT.

I have a business background but have always had a passion for helping the wider community. I have chaired several boards advocating for people from all backgrounds, this has also included organising and hosting events for charity. I believe this is where my desire to become a midwife originated.

I am excited to pursue a midwifery career where I will incorporate kindness, inclusion and evidence-based research into my everyday practice. I am honoured to represent midwifery students on the NZCOM committee.

Cherisse Yang

Cherisse Yang

Student Representative

Tena koutou. My name is Cherisse. I am currently a student at AUT.

I heard my calling to midwifery a bit later on in life. After completing my chiropractic degree in 2006, I set off overseas and worked in Hong Kong and Thailand for the next decade. I had a holistic gentle chiropractic practice for 6 years then transitioned to consulting for wellness hospitality businesses around Asia.

My time abroad exposed me to a world of stunning diversity. It was humbling to work with people and to lead teams from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. I returned to Auckland in August 2018 and undertook 2 years of naturopathic training before I began my midwifery journey at AUT.

I am passionate about evidence-informed care and interprofessional collaboration. I feel very honoured to represent the students on the Auckland NZCOM committee and to contribute to our profession and the wider community.

 

Holly Neilson

Holly Neilson

Consumer Representative

Tena Koutou, I am a mother of three and have represented Auckland Homebirth Community since 2017. I am also a Midwifery Standards Reviewer and have been since 2018. I have a huge passion for women’s health advocacy and making sure our consumers are well represented with true informed consent.

Gemma Garby

Gemma Warby

Consumer Representative, Maori

Tena koutou

My name is Gemma, I am a mother to five children. I represent Te Toku Tumai as part of an advisory panel as a Consumer. Having gone through my first pregnancy as a young mother, and in trying to navigate my way through parenthood I hope to bring my life experiences and be a voice for mothers. I am passionate about women’s health and advocating on behalf of all mothers.

Adith Stoneman_2

Adith Stoneman

Consumer Representative

I feel that the most vulnerable people in our society are not treated with the respect that they deserve, this feeling led me to volunteer for La Leche League for many years,  to volunteer for Age Concern, helping to reduce  social isolation for  our elderly population in the community and to be a “straight up” Child Birth Educator.  In September 2015 I joined Maternity Service Consumer Council an organisation that with such passion works hard for the betterment of a woman’s experience in the maternity setting of New Zealand.

Currently I work for MSCC as the Administrative Coordinator and as an  Activities Coordinator at the Dutch care centre “Ons Dorp” (our village), so I work at in the beginning and the end part of life, interesting.

Emma Ryburn-Phengsavath Head shot - 2019

Emma Ryburn-Phengsavath

Consumer Representative

Hello, my name is Emma and I am a Committee member of Maternity Services Consumer Council. I have been with the organisation for 10 years. I have a passion for advocacy and believe that consumers have the right to the complete ‘picture’ to make an informed choice. It is important to have consumers in professional groups so that they are represented as the main constituents for care, and that policy is clearly written with their best interests at heart. The College of Midwives is a professional body with a heart, and I am thrilled to be included as a representative for consumers.