Our committee

The Waikato Home Birth Association Inc (WHBA) is run by a group of volunteers who are passionate about home birth and provide information and support for birthing women and their whānau.

Some of our current committee members are listed below. Thank you to the many committee and life members who’ve come before us for their passion and dedication to supporting home birth in the Waikato!

Sarah Naidu

Chairperson – Newsletter Editor – Committee Member

Kia ora, my name is Sarah. In September 2016 I birthed my first child at home, with no idea that in-the-moment decision based on the support, knowledge and inexplicable trust in my midwives, would influence me so passionately.

As my ‘new mum’ journey began and I grew my village, I came to realise I knew others who’d done the same. I was soon introduced to the WHBA and as a result, people who went on to become such a valued support as I navigated the roller-coaster ride that is first time parenting with a baby that had very little interest in sleep!

Since then my knowledge and passion about home birth has grown significantly. I birthed my second child in November 2019, and confidently planed to home birth from the get go. Lucky I did because she arrived earth-side so quick she even bet our midwife!

On the career side of things I’m a senior communication advisor working in the health sector. On returning to work between kids, and finding our family’s new groove, I (somewhat unexpectedly) realised that with time, I was also able to spend a little more energy doing other things I enjoyed alongside parenting. So when the opportunity came up to join the WHBA committee in 2018 I grabbed it.

I enjoy sharing my passion and experience of home birth with others and it’s a privilege to support other parents to make informed pregnancy and birthing choices that feel right for them – whether that’s at home or elsewhere. I’ve made many friendships through the WHBA and I’m enjoying meeting more of you this year while I’m back in the trenches of sleepless nights, nappies and round-the-clock feeding!

Bobbie-Jane Cooke

Secretary – Birth Pool Coordinator – Social Media Representative – Website Administrator – Committee Member

Ko Oteauheke te maunga
Ko Awaiti te awa
Ko Tākitimu te waka
Ko Ōnuku te marae
Ko Ngāti Irakehu, ko Ngāi Tārewa ngā hapū
Ko Ngāi Tahu te iwi
Ko Bobbie-Jane tōku ingoa.

I am part of the 2020 committee, the social media rep, birth pool coordinator, the co-facilitator for both our Home birth whānau mornings and our Natural birth series evenings, and our secretary. This year I am also starting up our Home Birth in Aotearoa podcast, keep your eyes peeled for this!

I have two daughters Lily-James (5) and Atawhai (2) with my amazing husband Regan. After an extremely traumatic birth ending in an unnecessary csection with Lily we went on to home birth with Atawhai. I am fiercely enthusiastic about informing and empowering whānau when it comes to birth and I frequently speak at public events on the power of birth on behalf of WHBA. I am extremely passionate about Māori whānau, women, birth and babies and one day hope to explore this further when I am finished having babies of my own. But until then I am so grateful to be fulfilling my passion through this amazing organisation and I look forward to all the things we get up to this year.

Rhiannon Leech

Treasurer – Library Coordinator – Committee Member

Kia ora
No Raanana oku tupuna
Ko Surrey te maunga
Ko Thames te awa
Ko Ngati Ingarangi te iwi
Ngati Sowerby te hapu
Ko Rhiannon Toku ingoa
Kia ora

Hi, my name is Rhiannon and I am treasurer of the Waikato Home Birth association. I enjoy food, travel and reading books when I get the chance.

I became a mum in 2014 to a beautiful boy. I birthed him in hospital after a very fast induction of labour. During my pregnancy I had a desire to become a midwife and started the enrolment process, however decided to wait until our family was complete. In the meantime, I started my childbirth educator training and became pregnant with my second baby. The more I learned throughout this training the more convinced I was that I wanted to avoid induction and have this baby at home. My husband wasn’t too thrilled about the idea to begin with, but I was determined. In October 2016 we welcomed our second baby into the world at home. I remember vividly the next day very clearly and my husband saying, “well that was normal”.

I joined the Waikato Home Birth association after my third pregnancy unfortunately ended too soon at 18 weeks, because I wanted to be surrounded by a community who was like minded when it came to pregnancy and birth. Unfortunately, our fourth also ended too soon at 16 weeks. While the grieving process of this is hard I needed to work through and find my new normal.

I wanted to be able to support women in all aspects of pregnancy and birth, so I enrolled in the bachelor of midwifery which is what I am currently doing now.

The Waikato Home Birth association has shown me so much aroha, and I hope to pay that forward into my work. 

Josie Rawlinson

Committee Member

Ko Lincolnshire Wolds ngā Puke 
Ko Waithe Beck te Awa
Ko Mora te Waka
Ko Thoresway te Marae
Kei Kirikiriroa ahau e noho ana 
Ko Josie toku ingoa

I’m currently on my journey to become a midwife, studying midwifery at Wintec. I have a varied background. I’ve completed a psychology degree at University of Waikato, worked in youth justice, volunteered on the crisis help-line at Life Line Aotearoa, and have taught English in South East Asia.

The people I love, time outdoors, yoga and meditation keep me grounded. My heart is in supporting holistic wellbeing, learning more about the significance of embodied experiences, and advocacy – all things woven into supporting and promoting birthing at home, so here I am!


Rachel Thomas

Committee Member

Kia ora e te whanau.

My name is Rachael and I am a mum of two boys. One big, and one not so big.  My birthing experiences were very empowering for me and the midwifery care I received prompted me to start my own midwifery journey.  I have a deep instinctual passion for midwifery, birth, women’s empowerment, education and knowledge, and holding space. The sacredness of homebirth is where my heart lies and being able to support woman in this space is a privilege.

Joining the WHBA committee and meeting other like-minded women has been very humbling, and I am excited about being part of supportive community of people.  I am currently in my final year of my midwifery degree and when I am not talking about pregnancy and birth you will find me spending time with my whānau, doing our favourite thing together…. enjoying an amazing meal!

“Giving birth can be the most empowering experience of a lifetime – an initiation into a new dimension of mind-body awareness” – Ina May Gaskin


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