Who is MERAS?

  • Established by the NZ College of Midwives (NZCOM) in 2002 as a separate but associated organisation to give voice for employed midwives.
  • All members of MERAS are also members of the College of Midwives, the professional organisation for midwives.
  • In just a few years MERAS has grown to represent by far the majority of employed midwives.
  • MERAS members elect their workplace representatives, who are in turn represented by members of the National Representatives Council (NRC) from each region.
  • MERAS has two co-leaders who provide advice and support for the NRC, workplace reps and members, bargain Collective Agreements, and maintain relationships with NZCOM, employers, other unions, and external bodies.

What does MERAS do?

  • Bargains Collective Agreements for midwives
  • Provides support and advocacy for individuals or groups of midwives to address workplace issues
  • Provides feedback on consultation documents
  • Supports workplace reps and members at formal meetings
  • Lobbies politicians and officials
  • Campaigns for recognition of midwifery

MERAS objectives

  • To develop, negotiate and promote a Multi-Employer Collective Employment Agreement (MECA) for DHB-employed midwives and Collective Employment Agreements (CEA) for other employed midwife workplaces
  • To protect and enhance the workplace, economic and industrial interests of MERAS members
  • To stimulate and encourage MERAS membership
  • To advocate on behalf of members at a ward, unit, DHB and national level
  • To develop strategies and principles that underpin the decision making of MERAS and support members

MERAS Structure

Who is on the NRC?

  • Karen Ferraccioli, Chair, and Michelle Archer, Deputy Chair
  • MERAS workplace representatives who have been elected to the NRC by their region(s)
  • Alison Eddy, the New Zealand College of Midwives (‘the College’) Chief Executive Officer
  • Claire MacDonald, who has been appointed by the College
  • MERAS Co-Leaders Caroline Conroy and Jill Ovens
  • One Maori midwife representative from amongst MERAS workplace representatives or members (not yet appointed)

Our NRC leaders

Left to right: Jill Ovens (MERAS Co Leader), Victoria Christian (former deputy Chair, NRC), Caroline Conroy, Kelly McConvolle, new Chair Karen Ferraccioli and Michelle Archer (new deputy chair, NRC).

NRC rep Verity O’Connor (left) with Leila Sparrow at the Wellington “Midwives Getting Organised” course.

NRC rep Michelle Archer (2nd left) with fellow Southern reps at the Dunedin women’s leadership course.

NRC rep Jo Simpson (left) and Jill with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the Hamilton CTU-Government Forum.

What is the NRC’s role?

  • Sets the policy and strategic direction for the membership
  • Provides a forum for members to influence the direction of MERAS
  • Currently overseeing a process to develop agreed values to underpin MERAS strategy