23 Jan 2018


From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:18 pm on 23 January 2018

Heather's tweet has now kicked off a Twitter movement (#knitforJacinda) in which Kiwi knitters are encouraging their fellow crafty folk around the country to knit booties, blankets and beanies for babies in need. 

"Every little bit of knitting to do with a baby we love to get", says the coordinator of the Middlemore Foundation's wool programme Diane McEntee.

Diane got involved eight years ago after she ended up in Middlemore herself.

"I owe them an awful lot so I just wanted to be involved and give something back through Middlemore Hospital."

Now 500 or 600 (mostly elderly) volunteer knitters as far south as Invercargill supply most of the wool (and sometimes acrylic) themselves for blankets, booties, beanies and woolly jumpers.

The first hat knitted by Heather McCracken, who kicked off the #knitforjacinda movement

The first hat knitted by Heather McCracken, who kicked off the #knitforjacinda movement Photo: Twitter / Heather McCracken

They then send their creations to Middlemore where Diane's team of volunteers sort them by sizes and gender and make up parcels with enough clothing for a baby's first year of life –  (a parcel might include three blankets, six knitted hats, six pairs of booties, and a selection of vests and cardigan in different sizes).

Volunteers take the packages through the hospital wards.

"These families, they need our help. It's as simple as that.'

While the wool programme especially loves receiving booties, if your knitting skill is more on the level of peggy squares (15cm squares that can be sewed into patchwork blankets) Diane says these are very welcome, too.

"A baby's a blessing after all, isn't it? … Anything anybody can do for our programme in the name of Jacinda's baby is marvellous."

Knitters are also encouraged to approach their local hospital charities, including:

Wellington Hospitals and Health Foundation

The Neonatal Trust

Canterbury Neonatal trust