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Background to Our Newsletter

For the last 25 years the Canterbury Home Birth Association (CHBA), now Home Birth Canterbury (HBC), has been producing a ‘newsletter’ of some type. The originals were lovingly produced, photocopied records of births, meeting times and special events as well as some borrowed articles from other publications. In the 90s the newsletter had its first rebrand; it shrank in size to an A5 booklet. But what it lost in size, it made up for in quality. It grew into a real magazine, full of original articles written by members, with birth stories, birth notices and the rest. With the change in format came a name – it was known as birthplace. The time commitment to edit, layout and write birthplace magazine was immense and to save the relationships and sanity of the editorial team, it became a bimonthly publication. The birthplace of the 90s had a photo on the cover from the birth story contained within and it was photocopied on coloured paper.

In the new millennium, a new editorial team lifted birthplace to even greater heights. It became a professionally published magazine, complete with an ISSN and legal deposits into the National Library. During this facelift birthplace shifted up to a larger, more professionally presented publication which held firm to the belief that our membership wanted to read birth stories from Canterbury women and locally written content. With such a grand product its publication became seasonal.

Canterbury wasn’t the only regional home birth group in the Motu (island) to be producing a newsletter or magazine; Manawatu, Waikato, Dunedin, Wellington and others all had lovely magazines which were keenly read and shared with each other. However, the demands of family life meant that keeping on producing regular home birth magazines took its toll. Slowly fewer home birth groups were able to find editors for their magazines. The CHBA took on the task of producing birthplace as a national magazine. It was published so that inner content was consistent for all regions but the covers and birth notices were region specific. This meant that regions kept the heart of their publications but didn’t have the work involved in producing a full magazine. Altering the magazine several times over to suit each different region made the editor’s already demanding job even more time-consuming. One version for all made more sense and it seemed a natural progression for us to gift birthplace to the national organisation, Home Birth Aotearoa, with a view to formalising the development and production of a national magazine.

While Home Birth Aotearoa were favourable about the idea of a national magazine, organised, managed and published by them, they decided against running with birthplace. Instead, they opted to produce a more environmentally responsible and economically sound alternative and an online magazine, Home Birth Matters, was launched in April 2014. Like birthplace, Home Birth Matters is a seasonal publication promoting home birth, with a strong New Zealand focus alongside features of international import. Hard copies will be provided to public organisations as resources, though, being free and downloadable, most people will benefit from the online availability of the magazine.

And so, birthplace has faded away into the archives of Home Birth Canterbury. However, we feel proud that it stood as an exemplar of quality and professionalism in home birth magazines around Aotearoa and we hope that it has inspired current and future endeavours.

For your copy of Home Birth Matters please check out the magazine page on Home Birth Aotearoa’s website.

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