Who/What is Sands?

Sands New Zealand is a network of parent-run, non-profit groups supporting families who have experienced the death of a baby. We have over 25 groups/contact people around the country.

All of the people involved in Sands give their time and energy voluntarily - we are not a government funded organisation. We do not have any paid staff. Most of our members/supporters are also bereaved parents.

We offer empathy and understanding. We are not counsellors and do not give professional advice but we do offer an opportunity and environment to share experiences, to talk and to listen. We promote awareness, understanding and support for those dealing with the death of a baby in pregnancy, birth or as a newborn, and due to medical termination or other forms of reproductive loss. We are registered with the Charities Commission.

Health Professionals

We encourage health professionals such as midwives, social workers, etc to contact their local Sands group if they require our services.
You may also order Sands Support Packs and Certificates of Life directly from the Sands NZ Board by contacting the Resource Coordinator, Amie Whenuaroa by email amie@sands.org.nz

What we offer

  • Sands Support Packs

    The Support Packs are funded by the Ministry of Health and are usually provided to bereaved parents, families or whanau by the hospital staff or a midwife. They contain practical information for parents, grandparents and siblings after a baby has died. The pamphlets are entitled 'The Next Few Days', 'Your Baby's Funeral', 'Fathers Grieve Too', 'When a Baby Brother or Sister Dies', The Loss of a Grandchild' and 'Transporting Your Baby'.

  • Certificate of Life

    These are primarily produced for parents whose baby or babies have died before 20 weeks gestation. In NZ, babies born prior to 20 weeks are not officially recognised. However, all parents are welcome to receive one or both of these certificates. The A4 size has space for a photo or hand and foot prints. The certificates are available through hospitals and Sands groups.

  • Moses Baskets

    Some groups provide Moses baskets, clothing, bath packs and teddy bears to their local hospitals who give them to families whose babies have died. Many families are not prepared for such an event, so the baskets and baby things help them to parent their baby during the short time they have with them.

  • Inkless Print Kits

    Sands Bay of Plenty provide inkless print kits directly to the public, parents, Sands groups nationwide, hospitals, funeral homes or any other relevant group. They can be ordered on their website www.sandsbop.co.nz. Discounts offered to other Sands groups or bulk purchases, if interested please email info@sandsbop.co.nz.

  • Phone Contact

    Sands volunteers can provide phone support to bereaved parents and families. If you are unable to make the first call please ask a family member, friend or your LMC to contact us and we can then call you.

  • Meetings

    Regular support meetings in the community allow for the expression of loss and grief in a safe and caring environment. Parents who share similar experiences can often listen, acknowledge and accept feelings that others may find hard to comprehend. The group meetings offer a non-judgemental space to share stories, concerns and feelings.

  • Library Books

    Some groups operate a lending library, books can be posted out or collected at local support group meetings.

  • Newsletters

    Some groups produce regular newsletters. These provide an alternative forum for sharing stories and poems and gaining information on the Sands group and any upcoming events either in the local area or nationally.

  • Counselling

    We receive many inquiries about counselling as many people assume we are set up to provide a counselling service. We wish we could! Unfortunately, we are not in a position to provide any funded counselling services through our groups. Please make contact with your local group and they can give you details of counsellors in your local area.

* Please note that Sands groups around the country may offer different support 'services', as our groups run autonomously and reflect their local community.

A little life,
not a little loss