Compassionate kete project for Mercy staff


Mercy staff members Lorelei Aukuso and Alofa Lale have been involved in an initiative which will provide comfort to families grieving the loss of their baby through miscarriage.

St John intensive care paramedic and fourth year medical student Jeff Aukuso initiated the project, after attending miscarriages and having nothing suitable to transport the miscarried babies in. Families sometimes resorted to using containers or biohazard bags.

Jeff discussed the idea with colleagues and friends and approached Mercy Hospital for help taking the idea further. Mission Coordinator Alofa Lale was happy to support the project and liaised with Maori weaver Lucy Smith to bring the idea to reality.

The result is a collection of beautiful hand woven and biodegradable kete, which have now been blessed and are within 10 ambulances across the Dunedin district. The kete can also be used as ipu whenua, a vessel used to bury the placenta. 

Mercy Hospital CEO Richard Whitney has commended staff involved in the initiative, saying it provides an easy and dignified way to support a grieving family. The project and its facilitators demonstrate Mercy's values of Atawhai (Care), Kotahitanga (Collaboration) and Whakaute (Respect).

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