Ariana Ashby is currently in her third year studying a Bachelor of Midwifery at Ara-Te Pukenga (formally Ara Institute of Canterbury).
Her moemoeā is to give Māori māmā greater choices and autonomy around their pregnancy and birth care. Ariana was inspired by her midwife who supported her pregnancy and birth when she had her first child.
Her midwife was an important part of Ariana’s whānau community, having also delivered Ariana’s siblings and her partner’s mother’s children.
“The relationship I had with my midwife was quite special to me. I felt protected within my birthing space. I want to provide that same care and education to our Māori māmā and whānau for better birth outcomes, both now and for the generations to come. What is important to me is upholding the whānau mana and connection,” Ariana said.
While Ariana’s experience was one of aroha and manaakitanga, she knows that is not the experience of all Māori māmā. Birth does not always go to plan and Ariana hopes to be able to advocate for māmā when these situations occur.
“I want to be able to be a voice for our Māori whānau in situations which may not be going their way, to enhance their trust in the health system. It is important to me that respect and mana are upheld. The choices and decisions of whānau need to be honoured and I hope to be able to be an advocate that ensures these happen,” Ariana said.