Very many thanks to Auckland region for a great conference.
Here are one or two of my recollections of the opening ceremony.
Powhiri - The conference began with the powhiri and Maori welcome. I understand a few words of Maori now and appreciate this ceremony more than I used to. It was not excessively long. Midwives were genuinely welcomed and their importance to women and birth was recognised. Henare spoke on behalf of the midwives. We are so lucky to have him as part of our organisation. He is an impressive speaker in either tongue.
This was followed by a performance by local school children which had been choreographed by a couple of midwives. I wish I had some photos for you. I was watching this with my eyes filling and was very pleased when i looked around and found I was not alone. It began with a young woman in Maori cloak walking down the centre isle calling, when she got to the front Dave Dobbin's song Welcome home began and others filed through the audience, dancing in a variety of costumes, including a young woman in a lack dress with silver fern. Some were small children, all performed brilliantly. They were welcomed to the stage by the young woman in the Maori cloak. They all continued to dance as others gradually joined them. The memory of this performance will stay with me for a very long time.
Judith McAra-Couper spoke recognising Sue Bree's important contribution as chair of NZCOM as Sue stands down at this conference. Sue has been a wonderful chairperson. She is an amazing woman who is also on the midwifery council and continues with a midwifery practice. She has such a lovely quiet dignified presence and always seems interested and willing to listen. We have been very lucky to have her leading the college through some turbulent and difficult years.