To celebrate International Midwives Day on 5 May, we interviewed Lesila Halauafu, a Tongan Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) practising in Kirikiriroa, Hamilton.

How did you get into midwifery?

I witnessed my first birth in Tonga when I was working as a nurse, and it was incredible. So when I moved to Hamilton with my husband in 2012, I decided to train as a midwife at WINTEC—I wanted to rekindle that light within me.

I also have four children, so am familiar with how things work from the patient’s side.

What do you love about your job?

The role of an LMC is so vital to the wellbeing of families. You have a new life coming into this world and you have the opportunity to support the family. I love to go through the journey with them—it is an honour and a privilege.

How do you support pregnant Pacific people within the community?

When I work with Pacific families it’s always important to let them know it’s okay to ask questions, and empower them to make decisions about their own healthcare.

I also like to make sure that they know it’s okay to look after themselves—Pacific women often tend to look after everyone else, so I like to encourage them to engage in the healthcare options available to them.

What does International Midwives Day mean to you?

It’s so important to raise awareness of midwives and the care that’s available to families before the baby is born—like screening for the baby and managing potential pregnancy complications like diabetes and hypertension.

And it’s great that it’s so visible on Facebook and social media channels. Celebrating midwives from all over the world is just fantastic. I love this day!