Alannah Stockwell and Luke Heal with their daughter Nina. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Parents plant placentas for sense of belonging


The birthplace of dozens of young Nelsonians was cemented over the weekend as parents gathered to bury their placenta in the hills above the city.

Dozens of parents hiked to the Centre of New Zealand to plant a tree over their child’s placenta, or whenua, as a permanent reminder of the birth.

The event was started eight years ago in honour of late Nelson midwife Lyndell Rowan who was passionate about the birthing process. She urged parents not to throw away the placenta.

New parents Adelle and Tony Hawkins say they decided to take part for a sense of belonging.

“Nelson is home for us so we wanted to cement that,” Adelle says.

Tony says Brooklyn is their first-born son and the start of their family, so it seemed fitting to leave a part of him here.

Alannah Stockwell and Luke Heal say it was a very spiritual experience.

“I think it’s a really special thing to do.”

Alannah says she wanted a part of their daughter Nina to always be in Nelson.

“My placenta is buried in Fiji, it will always be there and I wanted to bury hers here.”