“Working with a team who are compassionate, caring and love their work, that’s special” – Michelle’s parting words as manager of Helensville Birthing Centre.

March 1, 2024 8:14 pm

This month we hear from the wonderful Michelle Nasey as she steps down as manager of Helensville Birthing Centre – after 12 years in the role – to spend more time with her family. We look back at her contribution, gain some leadership wisdom and learn about her highlights.


From 2000 to today.

Michelle started at Helensville Birthing Centre in 2000 as a postnatal nurse before becoming a midwife, and then manager in 2012.

Over the 24 years Michelle has witnessed significant growth in the Centre including more births, adding new services like lactation consultants, and increased community engagement.

“When I first started, we would be on call, and quite often we might come in and just look after one family. Now we have hundreds of families through every year. We have lactation consultants supporting us – that’s been a big thing. [There’s also] more involvement in the community with the breastfeeding supporters and our drop-in clinic. Our community’s changed a lot. It’s grown and different families have come and gone.”

If you’re interested to read more about the Centre’s history, check out our blog here.


Many proud moments.

Michelle’s proud she got to lead a passionate and tight-knit team who prioritise supporting families during what can be a vulnerable time.

Community engagement continues to be a massive factor in the Centre’s success. Michelle says you can’t do a role like managing a birthing centre in isolation – especially in a close and relatively small township like Helensville – because, “you’re very accountable to the community”.

Looking back over the last 24 years, several defining moments stand out for Michelle. Not surprisingly, Covid features as one of them, especially the way the team supported each other. Michelle was proud of the way the community, Board, local LMCs, and staff rallied together during a stressful time to make sure families continued to be well looked-after and didn’t experience any barriers to accessing the Centre’s pregnancy, birthing, postnatal and parenting support.



On being a mum, midwife, and manager.

Michelle recognises how her work as a manager, mother and midwife have shaped and informed each other.


“I had two kids at primary school and a two-year-old when I first started at HBC. And young children as I took on the manager’s role as well. The knowledge and skills I’ve learned has had a huge impact on my life as a mother. And vice versa, my children and living in the community [has shaped] my skills as a manager too.”


On being a strong leader.

Helensville Birthing Centre is now in the capable hands of Renee Blair, who will take over the general manager role. Supporting Renee will be Eartha Healy, who will take on a newly-created clinical manager role, while also remaining at the drop-in clinic.

Michelle’s advice to Renee and Eartha is to not see their roles as “bossing” but “leading”. Michelle describes a good leader as somebody who leads with kindness, respect, open-mindedness, and humility (traits Renee and Eartha have in spades).

She says leadership is about pitching in whenever you can, even on the smaller, everyday tasks.

“when it’s busy I am always willing to pitch in…I’ll clean a room, empty the rubbish bin, stack the dishwasher.”

Leading is about, “treating others as you would like to be treated yourself,” Michelle adds.


What’s next for the Centre?

Michelle sees a bright future for the Centre and is excited about the potential of even more services for expectant families, and the birthing and breastfeeding community. She hopes the Birthing Centre and drop-in clinic continue to enable parents to make informed choices around pregnancy, birth, and parenting.

Something very close to Michelle’s heart is the hope primary birthing (birthing outside hospital) becomes a choice for even more whānau.

After 12 years, it’s hard not to experience all the feels about leaving.


Michelle admits she has “super-mixed feelings” about leaving and doesn’t think she’ll “ever find another workplace quite like it”.

Having said that, she knows it’s time for a change and she can’t pass up the opportunity to spend more time with her family.

But you’ll be pleased to hear we’ll still see her around – Michelle will continue working as a community midwife and supporting the Centre on a casual basis.


Thank you so much, Michelle.

We’re so grateful for Michelle’s leadership and contribution to Helensville Birthing Centre.

Michelle, thank you for everything from the HBC team and Board. We hope you enjoy having more time to travel and to spend with your lovely whānau. You’ve guided and led the team through some huge shifts and some challenging times. Thanks in no small part to your skills and care, we’ve seen some significant leaps in the services we offer. What’s more, the number of rural and local families we can support through pregnancy, birthing and parenting continues to grow.