About us

The Neonatal Trust was originally established in Wellington in 1986 by two Wellington families with extremely premature babies.  We are a registered charity which operates across New Zealand.  We are light on paid management but heavy on volunteer commitment and resources. Our registered charity number is CC56619

Why we exist

The Neonatal Trust works to provide, and coordinate, support to families of neonatal (premature or sick full term) babies as they make their journeys through neonatal intensive care, the transition home, and onwards.  

Every year approximately 10% of all babies are born premature in New Zealand. That’s one premature baby born every 90 minutes. There are also many full-term babies whose condition or illness requires admission to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) after they are born. In all, over 5,000 babies have a difficult to start life in New Zealand each year.

We exist to make a difficult start to life that little bit easier.

What we do

We work to reduce the stress and anxiety of families going through a neonatal journey by:

  • Providing information to help them get through their time in the neonatal unit and best understand the care their baby is receiving and the role they can play.

  • Organising support events such as morning teas, lunches, developmental playgroups and coffee groups. These provide an opportunity for Mums and Dads to receive updates and information and develop support networks with other parents (neonatal parents may not have ever had the opportunity to join an antenatal group).

We help support the units with equipment that directly enhances the environment for the parents or supports the care of babies in the units. For example:

  • Maternity chairs for ‘Kangaroo Cuddles’ and specialist breastfeeding chairs.

  • Re-decorating and furnishing parent ‘rooming-in’ rooms and shared spaces to help make a parent's journey that little bit brighter.

  • Offering the use of a library and parent resources.

  • Privacy screens to help when families need privacy, mum is breastfeeding or kangaroo cuddles are in action.

The Neonatal Trust also supports neonatal-related medical research. For example, the world leading research currently being undertaken by Dr Max Berry. All studies we support are robust programmes and have appropriate ethical sign off. 


How you can help

There are a number of ways you can help The Neonatal Trust.

Financial assistance is invaluable to us, as we receive no government funding and are entirely reliant on donations and support from organisations. Every single donation, regardless of size, makes a difference and helps us to support families.

Volunteers also provide a major role in helping us support neonatal families. From raising awareness and helping with our fundraisers, right through to knitting, they are the foundation on which we operate.

Finally, we have many great organisations that already support us. Supporting them with your purchases and telling them you love that they help The Neonatal Trust is greatly appreciated.


Current goals

  • To reach more families and do so in a more consistent, effective way.

  • We operate across New Zealand and are light on paid staff but heavy on volunteer commitment and resources. Our support is principally based around the 6 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) in Auckland, Middlemore, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. However, we are at different levels of maturity in each centre and we strive for delivering support that is consistent and effective and ensuring we reach every single family.

  • There are 178 Special Care Baby Units (SCBUs) in regional cities across New Zealand. Over 2,000 babies are cared for in these units and we would like to support these families more.

  • Developing further resources, in a range of formats, to help support families travelling the neonatal journey.

A copy of our latest Annual General Report can be found here

COVID-19 Status

We're continuing to have an impact/make a difference during COVID-19 restrictions by:

  • Offering new support options for families such as our 'Parent to Parent' chatline and virtual Developmental Playgroups

  • Arranging priority online shopping delivery codes for NICU/SCBU families

  • Working with our business partners to get essential breastfeeding equipment delivered direct to Mums

  • Adjusting our ways of working to keep our team busy and engaged

  • Trialling online fundraising challenges to engage with donors as our families need support now more than ever.



Thank you to The Neonatal Trust's Partners