South Westland having a baby boom amid worries over kindy, hospital travel time

Remote South Westland is having a baby boom with 18 women due to give birth in the next few months, many of them from the small community of Franz Josef.

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Eighteen women are due to give birth in the next few months, many from the small community of Franz Josef. Source: 1 NEWS

But parents there are worried that despite the pending arrivals, the town's only childcare centre could close.

Dawn Kremers is South Westland's sole midwife and has called in extra help, with the number of babies due in the coming months jumping from an anticipated half a dozen to 18.

In Franz Josef, population 440, new and prospective parents are banding together to save the local kindergarten.

The Franz Josef Kidsfirst kindy is the only childcare provider in town, and even though the roll is set to expand, the kindy itself could close.

"We firmly believe that those children deserve high quality early childhood education. But we can't sustain the loss of over $100,000 per annum each year anymore," said Sherryll Wilson, of Kidsfirst Kindergartens.

Families in Franz Josef are now considering buying the building and running it themselves.

Of more pressing concern for pregnant women is getting to the hospital on time.

It's a two-and-a-half hour drive from Franz Josef to the birthing unit in Greymouth.

"We're coasters, so it's about being self-reliant and understanding your own body and understanding when you need to go," one mum said.