Hutt Valley DHB Logo

(04) 566 6999

Published Tuesday 26 Jun 2018

An initiative to prevent the loss of Hutt Valley babies to sudden unexpected death in infancy, also known as SUDI, gets underway this week.


MOE ORA mō ngā pēpi is about keeping babies safe by supporting their māmā, pāpā and whānau to eliminate the risks that can lead to SUDI – the leading cause of preventable death for babies in New Zealand.

The two-year programme funded by Hutt Valley District Health Board is being led by Seaview-based Kokiri Marae Health and Social Services and will be launched this Thursday (June 28) at Wainuiomata Marae in Lower Hutt.

“There are too many Hutt babies going without simple things like a bassinet or a smoke free home, so we are looking forward to working with providers, hapū māmā and their whānau to help them make every sleep a safe sleep for babies,” says Teresea Olsen, general manager of Kokiri Marae Health and Social Services.

The programme includes providing more than 300 babies at risk of SUDI with wahakura (flax woven bassinets), giving specialist quit smoking support to smokers in the homes of babies and training providers, including midwives, so they can share safe sleeping practices with hapū māmā and whānau they work with.

“Wahakura are a taonga which realise the strengths of our communities and whānau. Whānau, Māori health leaders and weavers alike have long advocated and supported the creation of wahakura. It is a positive step that more wahakura are being shared with our communities and we need to continue to work together to support such initiatives to foster flourishing whānau,” says Fay Selby-Law, general manager of the national SUDI prevention service Hāpai te Hauora, who will be a guest speaker at this Thursday’s launch.

Hutt Valley District Health Board director for strategy, planning and outcomes, Helen Carbonatto, said while it had been almost two years since a SUDI had occurred in the Hutt Valley, smoking rates among hapū māmā continued to be very high.

“This is a significant concern to the DHB and community as maternal smoking significantly increases the chance of SUDI,” says Ms Carbonatto.

“Hutt Valley DHB, alongside its community, is committed to dramatically reducing the toll of SUDI by providing meaningful support to hapū māmā and their whānau via groups like Kokiri who are well connected to whānau in the community.”

Babies most at risk of SUDI include those whose māmā, whānau and homes are not smoke free; Babies who do not have a safe sleeping resource (bassinet, cot). Babies of Māori and Pacifica descent are disproportionately affected.