Domiciliary Midwives Society of New Zealand (Inc), 1976—2000 (WWAT 2000/1)


From the mid to late 1970s the Midwives Special Interest Section of the New Zealand Nurses Association (NZNA) was overtly opposed to home birth. Following the NZNA Conference in 1981 that opposition became formalised with the passing of NZNA’s Policy Statement on Home Confinement.

It had been determined at the National Home Birth Association Conference in May 1981 that the domiciliary midwives, i.e. the home birth midwives, needed to have their own voice, and the yet to be named group was instigated by Auckland domiciliary midwife Joan Donley. The group would become the Domiciliary Midwives Society of New Zealand Incorporated and was commonly called the Domiciliary Midwives Society  or DMS.

The society existed as an incorporated society from 9 June 1982 with the aims and objectives:

  • To enable members to communicate efficiently, speak out effectively as one body, and manage their own affairs;
  • To oppose and correct misrepresentation and misunderstanding of the philosophy of home birth and the policies of domiciliary midwives; and,
  • To protect the reputation and interests of all domiciliary midwives by seeking to obtain membership from all midwives providing home births (Banks, 2007, p. 84).

The DMS became the voice of domiciliary midwifery. It, rather than the New Zealand Nurses Association, became seen by the (then) Department of Health as the approprate body to negotiate Terms, Conditions and Fees applicable to domiciliary midwives from 1987.

The DMS would go on to establish the Domiciliary Midwives Standards Review Committee in partnership with Home Birth Associations in 1988. This review process set the precedent for the New Zealand College of Midwives Midwifery Standards Review in the 1990s.

Domiciliary midwives began networking nationally with one another from at least 1978 as problems rose with the supervision provided by Principal Public Health Nurses. Once the DMS was established, domiciliary midwives met twice a year in members’ homes and prior to national Home Birth Association conferences (Banks, 2007, pp. 84-85).


Folder 1 Documents of Incorporation

Meeting minutes, reports, agenda & invitations

Folder 2.1 DMS meetings, 1982-1997
Folder 2.2 Home birth reports and conference papers, 1982-1992
Folder 2.3 NZCOM meetings, Nelson/Marlborough region, 1989, 1991-1993


Folder 3 Membership lists


Folder 4.1 Correspondence, 1981
Folder 4.2 Correspondence, 1982
Folder 4.3 Correspondence, 1983
Folder 4.4 Correspondence, 1984
Folder 4.5 Correspondence, 1985
Folder 4.6 Correspondence, 1986
Folder 4.7 Correspondence, 1987
Folder 4.8 Correspondence, 1988
Folder 4.9 Correspondence, 1989
Folder 4.10 Correspondence, 1990
Folder 4.11 Correspondence, 1991-1998
Folder 4.12 Correspondence, re Maternity Benefits, 1981-1990
Folder 4.13 Correspondence, re Hamilton, 1986-1987

Standards for Midwifery Practice

Folder 5 Standards for Midwifery Practice, National Midwives Section of NZNA, February 1989

The Domiciliary Midwives Newsletters

Folder 6 The Domiciliary Midwives Newsletter

Newspaper clippings

Folder 7.1 Newspaper clippings book
Folder 7.2 Newspaper clippings envelope, 1976-c2000

Reports and statistics

Folder 8 Domiciliary midwives reports, 1987-1993
Folder 9 Home Birth Association conference reports, 1986-1993
Folder 10 Domiciliary Midwives Standards Review, 1983-1993
Folder 11 Home birth statistics, 1982-1996


Folder 12 Wellington Domino Midwifery Proposal, 1989
Folder 13 Direct Entry Midwifery education, 1987-1991
Folder 14 Stationery


Folder 15.1 Books and pamphlets, c.1947-1991
Folder 15.2 Journal articles, c.1982-1988
Folder 15.3 Save the Midwives, Nos 18, 21,22,25 (see Save the Midwives)
Folder 20: NZCOM National Newsletter, 1989-1993

Bronwen Pelvin, personal papers

Folder 16.1 B.L. Pelvin, 1978-1993
Folder 16.2 B. Pelvin, 1986

Folder 17 Legislation, 1939-1990
Folder 18 Submissions and unpublished papers

Policy Recommendations for Care for Pregnancy and Childbirth

Folder 19.1 Submissions
Folder 19.2 6th draft, October 1989
Folder 19.3 7th draft, October 1989
Folder 19.4 8th draft, November 1989

Location of holdings: Wise Woman Archives Trust (Inc.) at

You may also be interested in the 2007 PhD thesis by Maggie Banks Out on a limb: The personal mandate to practise midwifery by midwives of the Domiciliary Midwives Society of New Zealand (Incorporated), 1974-1968.