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

Secretary – Newsletter Editor – Committee Member

Tēnā tātau katoa
Ko Edmonds tōku ingoa whānau
No Peretania ōku tīpuna
I tipu ake au ki Tamaki Makaurau
E noho ana au ki Kirikiriroa
Ko Sarah tōku ingoa
Nō reira, tēna koutou katoa.

Kia ora, I am chairperson of the Waikato Home Birth Association.

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 found I knew others who’d done the same. I was soon introduced to the WHBA and people who went on to become such a valued support as I navigated the rollercoaster ride that is first time parenting.

Since then my knowledge and passion about home birth has grown significantly. I joined the WHBA committee in 2018.

I birthed my second child in November 2019, and had confidently planed to home birth from the get go. Lucky I did because she arrived earth-side so quick she bet our midwife!

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.

Bobbie-Jane Cooke

Chairperson – 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 have been apart of the WHBA committee since 2018 and am currently the chairperson and our administrator. I am also co-chair for Home Birth Aotearoa Trust and have been involved with this group since 2020. As a consumer representative I am apart of the Te Whatu Ora Maternity Quality & Safety Programme, the national New Zealand College of Midwives governance board, a few Te Whatu Ora working groups and have also just become a midwifery standards reviewer. Along with these roles I am on my reo journey at Te Wananga o Aotearoa and most importantly, a very busy māmā to my four tamariki – Lily-James, Atawhai, Raukawa and Tāwera.

I came into the home birth space after suffering birth trauma that heavily impacted my life. I went on to have three incredible, empowering and healing home births (HBACs) and I constantly speak on the impact of birth. I have a big passion for the rights of minorities, home birth and supporting birthing whānau in the community, especially tangata whenua. I am excited to explore these passions even more when I am finished having my own babies but until then I am so grateful to be fulfilling my passions through some pretty cool organisations like WHBA. If you’d ever like to contact me personally, my email is bobbiejane.homebirth@gmail.com

Rhiannon Leech

Treasurer – Library and Tens Machine 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 became a qualified midwife in 2021.

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

Alina Komnatnaya

Home Birth Whānau Mornings Facilitator – Cloth Nappy Pack Coordinator – Committee Member

Ko Te Aroha te maunga te rū nei taku ngākau
Ko Waikato te awa e mahea nei aku māharahara
Nō Rūhia ahau
E mihi ana ki ngā tohu o nehe, o Taupiri e noho nei au

Kia ora, I’ve been involved with the Waikato Home Birth Association since 2018 and I joined the Committee in 2022. I coordinate and run Home Birth Whānau Mornings and have recently taken over the cloth nappy packs – if you decide to pick them up, you are likely to be in touch with me!

I birthed my babies in three different countries, but always at home: Alfred in Kazakhstan, Adelina in the Netherlands, and Radomir here in Waikato after we decided to make Aotearoa home in 2013.

I know firsthand how different childbirth policies and choices can be in different places and this makes me deeply appreciate the midwifery care and homebirth options we have access to in New Zealand – and I hope with all my heart it will stay such.

I find homebirth very empowering but also believe there is no one right way to birth – it all should work for you and around you!

I love sharing my homebirth stories and supporting new mamas – personally, through our Association and via my (very) small business Koru Movement where I help women with movement in pregnancy and labour, pelvic health issues and chronic pain.

Looking forward to meeting you at one of our mornings in 2023!

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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