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Whetūrangitia - information for family and whānau experiencing the death of a baby or child

The Dept of Internal Affairs has developed a website for bereaved parents, families and whānau called Whetūrangitia. Here you will find information about Paid Parental Leave, Bereavement Leave and other employment related issues associated with the death of a baby or child.

The Whetūrangitia Story

In December 2018 informal conversation over coffee would inadvertently spark a catalyst for change. A baby loss advocate and bereaved parent spoke of the conflicting information that often confronted bereaved parents on social media or was provided to them in the event of their baby dying. The question in turn, was “what can government agencies do to help?” Thereafter, a hui was organised to explore and unpack this question.

The first hui had a small group of government agencies and NGO’s. During the introductions, many introduced themselves as bereaved parents and that whakawhanaungatanga (connectedness) lifted the conversations. The invested parties explored ways and means by which government agencies and private services could help the whānau, families and parents of children who die at, around or after birth.

The shared direction from that small group led to a second hui with more representatives. Their powerful and collective insights helped identify what our next steps should be. We knew we could not resolve all of the issues facing parents, but there was a commitment from several agencies to work together on a small concept that could make a big difference.

That small concept is now this site. A site to support those acting on behalf of parents to support them in their grief. It began with a simple question, and a commitment to listening to those directly affected, to honouring their experience and empowering them as parents and whānau.

We’re committed to continue strengthening Whetūrangitia with up-to-date and truthful information. We hope you find some clarity and answers in the information.

Meaning of Whetūrangitia

In traditional whaikōrero (oratory speeches) Māori refer to the passing of a person as a ‘star’ that returns to the sky to join the multitude of ancestors. Whetūrangitia means “stars that adorn the sky”. The whakataukī (proverb), “Kua whetūrangitia koe”, in this context means, “Return, take your place amongst the stars along with your ancestors that adorn the sky”.