Pepi Pods

Te Wahakura Pēpi has distributed 600 safe sleep devices to families in Hawke’s Bay this year, on the cusp of celebrating National Safe Sleep Day.

National Safe Sleep Day was on December 1, and served as a reminder to make sure every sleep is safe for parents and their pēpi (baby).

The Te Wahakura Pēpi programme supports the community with education and support to new parents and newborn babies to prevent sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) and supports the distribution of Wahakura and pēpi pods.

Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s Interim Kauika Pūmau team leader Te Aroha Papanui said Hawke’s Bay’s Maternity Services introduced a Safe Sleep Programme in 2011.

“It was transferred to Te Wāhanga Hauora Māori (Māori Health) about 2017,” she said.

“The programme has since been re-developed and renamed ‘Te Wahakura Pēpi’ and holds a significant tōhu which holds the whakapapa of the Kaupapa.

“The kaupapa behind the programme is to save pēpi lives by co-sleeping safely.”

Pepi-pods are either made from plastic or seagrass while wahakura are made from harakeke.

“Wahakura was specifically designed for Māori whānau due to increased sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) risk for Māori pēpi as well as the whakapapa the wahakura represents. Our wahakura is weaved by Art by Rīwa and her team,” she said.

“Whānau are referred to Te Wahakura Pēpi. As part of this process the team meet with the whānau and provide safe sleep education and a safe sleep device if needed.”

SUDI is the leading cause of preventable mortality in New Zealand infants. Māori and Pacific infants have consistently higher rates of SUDI compared to non-Māori and non-Pacific infants.

SUDI is a collective term that is used when the death of an infant under one year of age is initially unexplained, but may be found to be caused by high-risk conditions after extensive investigations. 

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air

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