Mai I Kurawaka is a six-part podcast series of Māori stories on hapūtanga (pregnancy, birth and beyond). This podcast will share different whānau narratives and their unique experiences of hapūtanga. It is designed to help educate and encourage first time parents, whānau seeking Māori- specific knowledge on pregnancy and birthing and those who enjoy listening to and learning about hapūtanga.
Podcast hosts: Lizzie Strickett and Jessikha Leatham-Vlasic
Please note: The themes and content shared in this podcast are the interviewee’s and do not reflect the views or perspectives of the producer, Hāpai te Hauora nor funding body, Nōku te Ao.
Mai I Kurawaka Podcast
Episode 1 - Stacey Morrison
In this episode of Mai I Kurawaka, Stacey Morrison shares her journey to māmāhood. Stacey is a radio host and media personality and māmā to three tamariki and in her kōrero, she talks about her conception journeys, birthing on her ancestral whenua, experiencing pregnancy loss, and raising her children with Te Reo Māori.
Episode 2 - Jo Rama
In this episode of Mai I Kurawaka, we talk to Jo Rama. Jo is a Kaupapa Māori birthing practitioner with over twenty years of Māori midwifery practice. In her interview, she talks about her upbringing as an urban Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau, overcoming ovarian cancer and going on to give birth to six pēpi, despite having 1/8 of one ovary. She talks very openly and candidly about being a young māmā suffering severe postnatal depression and how Kaupapa Māori birthing practices, including birthing at home, helped her processing and healing.
Episode 3 - Selah Hart
In this episode of Mai I Kurawaka, Selah Hart shares her hapūtanga (pregnancy) story. Selah was whāngai and raised in Blenheim by her grandparents. She is a young māmā to five tamariki (including twin baby girls), and she is also the new CEO of Māori public health organisation, Hāpai te Hauora. Selah fell pregnant with her eldest boy in her early twenties when she began working for Hāpai te Hauora and her fast career progresion mirrored her growing whānau, with Selah giving birth to her fourth and fifth pēpi (babies)- twin girls, a year into being appointed as Hāpai’s CEO. In this kōrero (conversation), Selah talks about leaning on her own lived experience as a young māmā to inform her whānau- centered leadership style. She also gives her whakaaro (advice) to other leaders on how wāhine (women) and their tamariki (children) are assets to an organisation, and how to enable and encourage young māmā in the workforce.
Episode 4 - Peter van Kampen
In this episode of Mai I Kurawaka, Peter van Kampen shares his journey to fatherhood. Peter recently became a dad to a little girl, Hiwa- I- Te- Rangi. In his kōrero, he shares his experience preparing for her arrival during COVID level 4 lockdown restrictions, their experience of both non- Māori and Māori midwives, supporting his partner, Lizzie, with mixed feeding (breast and bottle feeding) and what it means to be Māori father today.
Episode 5 - Simon Strickett
In this episode of Mai I Kurawaka, Simon Strickett shares his journey to fatherhood. Simon and his wife, Tash, sought medical help a year into trying to conceive. The couple underwent a series of tests in the year following as well as Simon undergoing a medical operation to work out why they were struggling to fall pregnant, Simon was told he had a genetic defect/ DNA damage and he was biologically incapable of producing viable sperm to conceive. After taking time to grieve and reflect as a whānau, Simon and his whānau began to wānanga about whānau sperm donation. With the support of Simon’s brother-in-law, Glen, Simon and his wife welcomed a little boy into te ao Marama in 2019. Simon is frank and speaks from the heart, sharing the importance of community and whānau support for tāne who are struggling with infertility- especially having spaces for tāne to be able to speak to tāne. His kōrero centres on connection and identity, especially how his understanding of whānau and fatherhood is ever changing with his own lived experience.
Episode 6: Ruthie Nielsen
In this episode of Mai I Kurawaka, we talk to Ruthie Nielsen. Ruthie is a māmā to 2 tamariki (children) and at the time of interviewing, was hapū (pregnant) with her third baby. Ruthie shares the challenges her and her husband, Hans, faced conceiving their first two children, especially after being told they had a 20% chance of conceiving. Ruthie details her third pregnancy as a beautiful surprise, particularly given the season in their life at that time was focused on work and career. Six months into the pregnancy, Ruthie attended the tangi (funeral) of a beloved uncle where she and her whānau (family) contracted COVID- 19. She discusses their experience in an isolation facility where she was eventually transferred to hospital as she developped Pneumonia and required a ventilator for assisted breathing. Despite the immense challenges and heartache in her experience, Ruthie speaks with a lot of hope and encouragement. Despite being such a unique story, it is one about having faith in the face of uncertainty which many whānau may be able to connect with.