Bereaved parents now have access to more information to help them cope with the death of their child, thanks to the Whetūrangitia (stars that adorn the sky) website. The initial launch of Whetūrangitia in 2019 focused on the loss of a baby.
Whetūrangitia is an online tool provided by Te Tari Taiwhenua – Department of Internal Affairs. It offers online support services and information for bereaved parents and those supporting them.
“Approaching the next stage of life after losing a child is overwhelming,” says David Philp, General Manager Te Pou Manawa (Partnerships and Products).
“We’ve worked closely with people who have been in this situation to make sure that Whetūrangitia incorporates support with helpful, unbiased guidance.
“Feedback on the first release of the website from parents and whānau is that children still very much depend on caregivers up until around 14 years of age. It has always been important to us to acknowledge this.”
New information on the website includes advice for returning to work, parenting and a new pregnancy after loss, and information for employers and colleagues of bereaved parents returning to work. Additional features include a revamped memory-making section, and a new services-near-me page for parents to locate the closest support services to them.
Future plans for the site include a function for parents to be able to use the site to register the birth of a stillborn baby, a financial help tool, a cultural review of site and the addition of new content and categories – including the loss of older children, and possible interactive pages for parents.
Over 1,000 Kiwi families are impacted by the death of a child each year, and miscarriage affects one in every four women in New Zealand. Encapsulating the concept of whānau pani, the wrap-around support from family and whānau, Whetūrangitia was launched as an online support and information resource for parents, family and whānau experiencing the death of a baby, infant or child. It gives people in Aotearoa access to the information and services they need and are entitled to, so they can make informed decisions.
Providing services like Whetūrangitia is one of the ways Te Tari Taiwhenua ensures people can easily access the information and services they need.