Home Midwives New Zealand Midwifery How to become a midwife

How to become a midwife

Elaines graduation

Midwifery is a rewarding career option that supports the wellbeing of pregnant women and whānau throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

To become a midwife students complete the equivalent of a four-year undergraduate Bachelor of Midwifery programme.

We are fortunate in Aotearoa, to have five schools of midwifery offering accredited pre-registration programmes:

  • Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau | Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
  • Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec), Hamilton
  • Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington
  • Ara Institute of Canterbury (ARA), Christchurch
  • Te Kura Matatini ki Otago | Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin

The midwifery schools offer distance learning which provides access to practical experience, face-to-face tutorials and online study while living in your own region. Some travel will be required for placements and specific education.

Bachelor of Midwifery framework

The Bachelor of Midwifery degree is a four-year academic programme, each school will guide you through the study pathway they offer.

Practical experience and cultural competence are key aspects of all midwifery programmes in Aotearoa. The degree is comprised of theory and practice, with over 2400 hours dedicated to clinical practice, developing the skills to become a confident and competent midwife.

National consistency

Each midwifery programme has a slightly different curriculum, all meeting the requirements and standards laid down by Te Tatau o te Whare Kahu | Midwifery Council of New Zealand (the Council). The Council is the regulatory body for midwifery and is responsible for registering midwives in Aotearoa. Information about the requirements of becoming a registered midwife can also be found on the Council’s website.

Once enrolled, each school will support you through the requirements of becoming a registered midwife.

Content of midwifery programmes

All midwifery programmes focus on continuity of care and safe, autonomous practice. Students must demonstrate competency in midwifery skills, such as antenatal care, labour care, conducting normal birth, venepuncture, cannulation, perineal repair, maternal and infant resuscitation, newborn examination, postnatal care and breastfeeding.

Students must also demonstrate knowledge of underlying, pre-existing medical or surgical conditions; and their impact on pregnancy and childbirth; and the necessary care for women with such a condition. Practical experience includes working in the community (home and birthing units) and in hospital alongside experienced registered midwives.

A thorough understanding of normal pregnancy and childbirth enables students to recognise abnormal situations, know how to manage emergency care and make appropriate referrals.

The Bachelor of Midwifery degree has a significant bioscience component and a strong research focus. The notion of evidence-based care underpins all teaching. This provides students with the necessary scientific and research base for autonomous decision-making.

Students work in a variety of settings over three years, including family planning clinics, community midwifery practices, community maternity hospitals, neonatal intensive care units, home births and with well child services. All students have dedicated placements in secondary and tertiary hospitals to achieve the experience necessary for competency in recognising deviations from the normal and for working collaboratively with obstetricians in the provision of secondary care.