Alaya-Reign Ma'anaima-Pamata died from whooping cough.
The parents of a 6-week-old girl who died of whooping
cough say they wish they had known the threat to their baby
before they took her home from hospital.
Photos of Alaya-Reign Ma'anaima-Pamata are among the few
items her young parents have left to remember their baby
Jade Pamata, 24, and Simi Ma'anaima, 25, had their daughter
home from hospital two weeks before she fell ill.
At first it was a "mild" cough but soon Ms Pamata was rushing
their daughter to the emergency department.
Alaya's last nine days were spent in Christchurch Hospital
before she died from whooping cough on November 10.
Last night (Thur) the grieving parents said they had not
known how susceptible young children were to the deadly
"When we got to bring her home she looked healthy to us and
we didn't really guard her in that sense," Ms Pamata said.
"We didn't realise how common [whooping cough] was or how
serious it was.
"That's probably my biggest regret, not keeping her away from
people for a couple of months."
This week the Government announced free whooping cough
vaccines would be available to all pregnant women from
January 1 as the outbreak of the disease spreads across the
There have been 6700 notified cases of whooping cough since
August last year, of which more than 200 were babies aged
one-year-old or younger who required hospital treatment.
Alaya is reported to be the second baby in New Zealand killed
by whooping cough this year.
The free vaccination from January 1 will last until the
whooping cough outbreak finishes, Health Minister Tony Ryall
All pregnant women can receive the vaccine from their GP
between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy.
A number of district health boards have been offering the
vaccine free to pregnant women for the past few months.
Ms Pamata said she faced complications during her pregnancy
that prevented her from having the whooping cough vaccine.
Alaya was born at 34 weeks and Ms Pamata needed a large
tumour removed at the same time.
She said Alaya's first vaccinations would have been at
Ms Pamata and Mr Ma'anaima said they wanted to warn other
parents of the deadly disease.
"It is the hardest thing we've ever been through," Ms Pamata
"If you think back to the whole time we were in hospital,
that feels like forever.
"We've got everything, from her last outfit she wore [to] her
umbilical chord when was born. And that's all we have to
remember her by."
- 6700 cases since August last year
- More than 200 babies aged under 1 who required hospital
- Free vaccines for pregnant women from January 1
- Outbreaks in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United
Source: Ministry of Health