Jacoby Poulain: Extending collective good in Hawke’s Bay by helping babies with clothes – Hawkes Bay Today

Jacoby Poulain
Jacoby Poulain

I love a friendly challenge every now and then. Take, for example, Minister Te Ururoa Flavell, co-leader of the Maori Party and incumbent MP for the Waiariki seat – versus Tamati Coffey, former television presenter turned opposing candidate of the Waiariki seat representing the Labour Party.

Te Ururoa places the following on his Facebook page:

“CHARITY FUNDRAISER FOR EDGECUMBE. Good old election year! I’ve heard the korero (talk) put out there by Tamati’s family that I am too old and should kick back and retire! Well I’ve got other plans, sorry bout it!! So, since you think I’m too old, how about we take this to a young persons arena Tamati?

I challenge you to a charity fundraiser. One-on-one individual ¼ IronMaori or a ½ marathon (or longer if you prefer, I’m keen). Two weeks time enough? Or next month? I’m sure we can find a time to suit us both.

Now we can’t waste this opportunity, let’s raise some putea (funds) for the whanau in Edgecumbe. Hell, I’ll even pledge $1000 right now to get us rolling. To our Ironmaori whanau, what say you?”

Now I like that. Quasi-friendly, a little cheeky, ballsy – putting his money where his mouth is, yet standing his Waiariki seat ground challenging the youngster who is challenging him.

If ‘m correct, I believe Tamati may have counter-offered a challenge of a political debate, which Te Ururoa has gladly accepted, along with the initial offer also of competing in a marathon. So now it’s a dual challenge.

I was challenged also, over the weekend in the newspaper, in response to my column last week where I spoke of 6/10 children being born in our very own Hawkes Bay Hospital into high-deprivation. The author of the comment challenged me to do something about that situation, particularly by suggesting that I advocate for the sterilisation of the mothers and fathers of said babies.

Now advocating for sterilisation is not my style, nor does it help the issue of the babies already born into high-deprivation, but it did get me thinking.

I have a baby myself. He’s outgrown a whole bunch of his clothes already, as babies tend to do with their rapid pace of growth. I have passed a lot of these clothes on to others already, but I still have some bagged up sitting in my closet. I’d imagine others around Hawke’s Bay, mums especially, may have some outgrown baby clothing stored in their homes too.

With about 2000 births a year in Hawke’s Bay, that equates to roughly 1200 births into high-deprivation. Consequently, this also means roughly 800 births that are not into high-deprivation.

If all of the parents not in high-deprivation could pass on their outgrown baby clothes to those in the next year’s cohort of high-dep then together we could, in effect, clothe every newborn in our community – together, simply, without the need for government advocacy or endless meetings.

Of course not every parent could or would do this – some will have further babies to come to clothe in their own family and others may simply be philosophically opposed.

However I suggest that there likely will be many who can and would like to help in this manner. And on the other end of it, I believe there will be many parents and babies that would benefit greatly and be appreciative.

I wasn’t in high-deprivation personally when I birthed my first son. I was nevertheless gifted a big bag of pre-loved clothing from my sister and others which helped tremendously.

It was a very cold weekend in Hawke’s Bay as I sat down to write this. I can only imagine trying to raise a baby in the cold and having issues with clothing them and keeping them warm. I can do something to help a few by gifting my clothes and if anyone else would like to do likewise I believe we can extend the collective good on this matter.

If you have some excellent-condition baby clothes to donate or would like to help please email me at [email protected]

Jacoby Poulain is a Hastings district councillor and a board member of the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board and is on the EIT council.

Linda Hall’s Middle New Zealand column has moved to Wednesday.

- NZ Herald