The tragic death of a mokopuna has prompted a Taranaki couple to lend their weaving expertise to the district health board's newly named safe sleep programme Taranaki Tau te moe.
Philip and Puhi Nuku said the grief at losing a grandchild to sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) was immense for their entire family, especially their children, and they wanted to tautoko the Taranaki Tau te moe kaupapa.
They decided creating wahakura - bassinets woven from harakeke/flax - was the perfect way for their whānau to offer support to other families.
"Wahakura are a whakapapa connection to pēpi and whānau. Each wahakura is created through traditional weaving practices passed down through generations. Knowing that wahakura are going to pēpi is something that brings my whānau a lot of joy," they said.
The whahakura are provided along with education and support to whānau of at risk babies such as pre-term or low birth-weight pēpi, and where there is maternal smoking or other social circumstances.
Taranaki DHB midwife and SUDI prevention coordinator, Grace Maha, said the Nukus' support was invaluable.
"Incidences of SUDI in Māori babies are five to six times higher than non-Māori, so it's important that we provide a programme that is delivered with a kaupapa Māori feel. That starts with the new name, Taranaki Tau te moe."
Along with safe sleep education, whānau referred to Taranaki Tau te moe - which simply translated means 'sleep well' - were gifted a wahakura.
Maha said these taonga would give Taranaki whānau with new pēpi an in-bed option that supports safe sleep practices.
"We are incredibly grateful for the mahi that Philip, Puhi and their whānau continue to do in providing these wahakura; we know there is a lot of aroha going into them."
Maha said the programme aimed in time to provide opportunities for māmā/whānau to be supported to weave their own wahakura.
"This process empowers whānau through the use of a traditional Māori practice that sits at the heart of Māori wellbeing," she said.
Taranaki Tau te moe has also received further support from a group of skilled kaumatua from Mahia Mai A Whai Tara.