New Zealand

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New Zealand

In 1886, only ten years after Mothers’ Union was founded in the UK, the first Mothers’ Union group outside the UK was opened in Christchurch, New Zealand. Mothers’ Union has continued to be active in New Zealand since then.

Mothers’ Union New Zealand members actively support teenagers with a particular focus on teenage mothers. Mothers’ Union Waikato runs a project which provides schooling and support for 17 girls, the youngest of whom is 14. The girls are given support and advice on parenting alongside regular lessons which help them achieve their school certificates. One of the mothers had her first baby when she was 15 and now has another baby. She enjoyed studying, achieved excellent exam results and went on to train to become a nurse. Alongside all this learning, fun activities help ensure the girls don’t miss out on some of the fun that girls their age would usually enjoy. Most of the girls leave to go on to higher studies or employment.

Waves is another project for teenagers. It is an innovative one-stop holistic health service for young people and has been credited with turning around hundreds of young people. Mothers' Union members in Waikato are involved in running the centre and one of them mentioned the warm feeling after an 18-year-old young man hugged her and called her ‘one awesome lady’. For many young people today grandmothers are missing from their lives and they relate well to older women taking an interest in them.

Mothers’ Union Auckland is busy with its Bring Back Childhood campaign. This has been adapted slightly from the Bye Buy Childhood campaign launched in the UK and Ireland in 2010.

Mothers’ Union New Plymouth are involved in the Growing through Grief programme whereby members are trained to work with children affected by bereavement, usually referred to the project by social services or school councillors.

Members in groups across New Zealand give practical support for mothers of premature babies, provide knitting for neonatal units and give gifts for baptisms. Groups also help in local initiatives such as soup kitchens, city mission and toys for victim support.

Mothers' Union members: 500