Meet and tell

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Second Life virtual birthing unit March 2009. Image by Sarah Stewart. Second Life build by Aaron Griffiths for the SLENZ project. CC By

This lesson will take around 60 minutes and is appropriate for junior midwifery students. This activity is designed to encourage you to think about the ideal environment of birth in social and cultural contexts other than that of the New Zealand Pakeha (white New Zealander, usually of British origin).


  • Computer and Internet with access to Second Life.
  • Basic ability to use Second Life and access the virtual birth unit
  • Extra resources to support this lesson either as links or printed handouts:
  • Mamatoto: A celebration of birth. By Dunham, C. Published by Penguin in 1993.
  • Birth territory and midwifery guardianship. Edited by In K. Fahy, M. Foureur & C. Hastie. Published by Edinburgh: Elsevier in 2008. Refer to: Mindbodyspirit architecture: creating birth space (pp 95-112) By Lepori, B, Foureur, M., & Hastie, C.

Learning objectives

  • Demonstrate an understanding of childbirth as a normal life event which occurs within diverse social and cultural contexts.
  • Discuss the impact of the underpinning philosophies of midwifery on the childbirth experiences of women and the development of midwifery knowledge.


1. Attend one of these two meetings in Second Life at 10am. Meet the designated lecturer in the meeting room on the second floor of the birthing unit:

Friday 21 August - Sarah Stewart (Petal Stransky)
Friday 4 September - Deborah Davis (Aastra Apfelbaum)

2. Discuss the following question:

  • The virtual birth unit is considered to be 'ideal' by the people who designed it whose background is mostly white, Pakeha New Zealanders. Identify aspects of the birth unit that would not be ideal in other social and cultural contexts.

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