4 November 2019
New Zealand embraces Global prematurity campaign and ‘Lights Up Purple’
Landmarks around New Zealand will be lit up alongside international landmarks in a campaign for World Prematurity Day on
This is the third time New Zealand has taken part in the ‘Lighting Up Purple’ campaign, which is designed to raise
awareness of the 15 million babies born prematurely worldwide each year.
A number of well-known New Zealand landmarks are ‘Lighting Up Purple’ this November. These include the Michael Fowler
Centre and Majestic Centre in Wellington, Auckland’s Civic Theatre, Christchurch International Airport and Control
Tower, the beautiful heritage-listed Oamaru Opera House, Dunedin’s historic railway station and the Clock Towers in
Blenheim, New Plymouth, Hastings and Gisborne.
Wellington Mayor Andy Foster is pleased the city can show its support by lighting up local landmarks.
“It’s great to be able to support the Neonatal Trust in this way and help raise awareness of the issues premature babies
and their families face.
About 10 percent of New Zealand babies are born prematurely. It’s a stressful time and families need all the help they
I have personal experience as my son was born prematurely and the Neonatal Trust are fantastic caring people who do a
I urge people to contribute to the Trust, which supports those families when they need it.”
Past international participants include the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls and the Trevi Fountain.
A premature baby is born every 90 minutes on average in New Zealand. That’s more than 5,000 or 10 percent of all babies
each year who have to go through a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU). In addition to
premature babies, sick full-term babies are cared for in neonatal units. The complications these babies face are often
only apparent once the baby is born.
New Zealand’s lighting up campaign is headed by The Neonatal Trust. The Trust supports families of premature and sick
full-term babies across New Zealand.
“The charity works to support neonatal families as they make their journey through a neonatal unit, the transition home
and onwards” says Rachel Friend, Executive Director of The Neonatal Trust.
“We are incredibly grateful for the support we receive and the willingness of these incredible landmarks to get
involved. It’s just another example of the incredible support the New Zealand community gives charities.”
Many New Zealanders are personally affected, or have friends and family who have experienced premature births or had a
sick baby require specialist care.
“It’s an issue which affects a significant amount of our population, and we are excited to see the New Zealand
community get behind our campaign” she adds.