Our Incredible Team

The birthEd team is made up of friendly educators who are midwives, childbirth and lactation educators, experienced in working with women and their families. Our support staff are approachable and easy to talk to.

birthEd has contracts with the Hutt Valley and Capital and Coast District Health Boards to provide a range of free childbirth, breastfeeding, baby care, early parenting and baby safety courses for pregnant women and their support people in the greater Wellington area.

birthEd provides high quality childbirth and early parenting education and support to women and their partners or support people, so they can make safe, well informed choices about the birth of their baby and their parenting.

In 2004 a local midwife and an educator became aware, through their own experiences, of the need for top quality, accessible and friendly childbirth classes in the Hutt Valley and Wellington regions. They became passionate about designing a set of courses that would meet the needs of parents of different ages and cultural backgrounds.

Today birthEd has a team of midwives, childbirth and lactation educators who are constantly updating their knowledge and skills to bring participants the latest information. Participants are invited to give feedback after each course and this information is used to review and make any enhancements.  Each birthEd course facilitator has been trained not only as a midwife and/or childbirth educator, but in the birthEd philosophy and attitude of acceptance, and in creating an atmosphere of relaxation and fun.

birthEd is proud to have such a professional, innovative and passionate team of educators who want to inform and empower parents to give them the best start to their parenting journey. This is in keeping with our philosophy and mission statement.

Sarah Ashill

Sarah Ashill

Managing Director

Sarah founded birthEd in 2004 with the aim of providing excellence in antenatal education to families in the Hutt Valley. Sarah is a birthEd Childbirth Educator, businesswoman, breastfeeding advocate, and budding researcher. She has extensive experience working with people of all ages in caring and educating roles. She strongly believes women experiencing pregnancy can make great informed choices for themselves and their families. Sarah is married with four children and has a Masters Degree in Science where she explored the impact of antibiotics on the developing infant microbiota and the associations with childhood obesity.

Nicky Jackson

Nicky Jackson

Manager

Nicky has been with birthEd since 2005. She became a registered midwife in 1994, and has worked as an independent midwife, a childbirth educator, and a core staff member in several hospital environments--she currently works as a core midwife at Hutt Valley Health. Nicky is passionate in her commitment to educate pregnant women and their families to improve their experience with and outcomes of the birthing and parenting population. Nicky is married with four children and she has a Masters Degree in Midwifery where she looked at the impact of antenatal breastfeeding education on young women's breastfeeding rates.

Leith Porter-Samuels

Leith Porter-Samuels

Educator

Ko Leith Porter-Samuels tōku ingoa I whānau au ki Whanganui-a-Tara Nga uri o Ngati Haua, Ngati Raukawa o Waitaha au No reira, Tena Koutou, Tena Koutou, Tena Koutou Katoa. Leith is Māori, and she married and raised her whānau in the Hutt Valley. Her passion to make the ‘hard stuff’ simpler and empower young Māori mothers is born from her personal experience as a struggling, young, uneducated mother. In her early career years she worked with youth and whānau in the community, which eventually lead her to study and graduate as a mature midwife. She is a childbirth educator for birthEd and enjoys interacting with expectant wāhine, partners and whānau. She has been very involved in developing Kaupapa Māori Antenatal and Kaiāwhina Education (MAKE). She also represents the Hutt Valley District Health Board SUDI Prevention Unit to promote the key messages on Safe Sleeping and Baby Safety in our community.

Maria Hakaraia

Maria Hakaraia

Breastfeeding Support, Educator

Ko Tainui te Waka, ko Tararua nga maunga, Ko Ngati Raukawa te Iwi, ko Maria Hakaraia toku ingoa, No Wainuiomata ahau , tena kotou, tena kotou, tena kotou katoa. Maria is a mother and grandmother and was born and bred in Wainuiomata. She works at CCDHB as a Lactation Consultant (Maori and Pacific focus) and is also a qualified Chef. She lived and worked in Australia for thirty years, but returned to NZ to live in 2008. She is passionate about how we feed ourselves, especially the first food.

Jenni Crowley

Jenni Crowley

Educator

Jenni has been a midwife in the Hutt Valley community for ten years, and has been part of the birthEd team for eleven years. She has recently become a mum to a little boy. This has invigorated her passion for helping parents prepare for the amazing life change that is having a baby. Jenni is passionate about supporting women's choice, healthy physiological birth and breastfeeding, and empowering parents to form loving attachments with their babies.

Jo Sorasio

Jo Sorasio

Breastfeeding Support, Educator

Jo is a registered midwife, childbirth educator and mum of 4 beautiful children. Jo has been with birthEd since the beginning of 2015 and facilitates a number of classes including; Your Body Your Birth Your Baby, Your Homebirth Option, Keeping Your Baby Safe and Evolve class for Young Mums. Jo acknowledges that every woman's journey through pregnancy, labour, birth and early parenting is different and she aims to provide information that is balanced in an environment that is welcoming and relaxed.

Pauline Quinn

Pauline Quinn

Educator

Pauline has been a qualified childbirth educator for 18 years, for the last 2 years she has also worked for birthEd at both the Hutt hospital and He Huarahi Tamariki. She has been a doula and involved in many other aspects of the birthing scene over the years. She knew she wanted to be a childbirth educator after her last birth, 15 years ago, and has gained immense enjoyment and fulfillment from this career path. She is enthusiastic about teaching and feels privileged to be involved in the lives of people as they venture into parenthood. She also works as a data analyst for a science research centre and is married with 2 sons aged 27 and 18 and two daughters aged 10 and 6 and has a busy but fulfilling life – no time for hobbies!.

Lucy Griffiths

Lucy Griffiths

Educator

Lucy currently works as a birthEd antenatal educator and a core and community midwife at Hutt Hospital. She has also been an LMC and a hospital midwife in Christchurch. Practicing midwifery has reinforced Lucy's belief in women’s innate ability to give birth. She respects that every woman comes to the woman-midwife partnership with different beliefs, ideals and needs. Lucy feels privileged to support women through this amazing and challenging journey in women’s homes or in hospital through her work at Hutt Hospital. She is a strong believer in the importance and empowerment of informed choice, and works to bring understanding and choice to the women and whānau she works with. Lucy enjoys educating and empowering women and their support people.

Liora Noy

Liora Noy

Breastfeeding Support

Liora is a Registered Nurse (obstetrics) and Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), with a Master in Public Health. She has three children, ages 8-18. She is currently working as a Tamariki Ora (Well Child) nurse, as well as running a breastfeeding support centre in Wellington. Originally from Mexico, she has lived in Israel, California and Hawaii. Liora loves teaching the breastfeeding classes, as she feels it’s important to prepare parents for the challenges that breastfeeding often presents. She believes that if parents are well prepared, they will have more patience and perseverance to stick with breastfeeding. She is also passionate about supporting parents affected by Postnatal Distress having been deeply affected herself by PND. She is also peer counsellor at PND Wellington.

Heather Cotter

Heather Cotter

Breastfeeding Support

Heather Cotter is a Breastfeeding Education Specialist and has been training health professionals and community workers in breastfeeding education for over 10 years. Heather was accredited as a La Leche League Leader in 2004 and believes passionately in mother-to- mother support. As a National Training Coordinator of the La Leche League Breastfeeding Peer Counsellor Programme, she has travelled throughout New Zealand facilitating this programme. She is committed to protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding and has held a number of breastfeeding education and advisory contracts for District Health Boards. She lives in Lower Hutt and is married with two gorgeous teenagers.