The year is 1999, Y2K is fast approaching and you’re planning a new addition to the family. Why not apply for Auckland radio station 91ZM’s latest offer? They will provide you and your partner with a romantic hotel room, filled with aphrodisiacs to stimulate your mood.
The catch? 99 other couples will be in hotel rooms of their own, all trying to conceive the first baby of the millennium.
The event was hosted at the Imperial Hotel in Auckland and allowed couples 24 hours to get it on. The date picked was April 9, which was identified as the best conception date for those wanting to have a baby at the turn of the century. This was still a big lottery though, as the chances of actually giving birth on a woman’s due date is about 5%.
Seven women successfully conceived at the Imperial Hotel that night but they weren’t the only couples competing for the grand prize.
All New Zealand hospitals avoided booking women in for elective cesareans or induced births on New Year’s Eve for Y2K safety, meaning the first baby born had to be a natural delivery or emergency birth.
The first baby to be welcomed into the world was Tuatahi Manaakitanga Edwards-Melsom. “Tuatahi” means the ‘first born’ which was very fitting as he arrived at 12:01 on January 1, 2000. It was not a smooth birth process though – the media were waiting at the door of Waitakere Hospital ready to introduce the baby to the world, but he was struggling to breathe. Tuatahi had to be urgently transferred to a specialist heart hospital to undergo life-saving surgery.
His parents wanted to keep him as far away as possible from the spotlight so he could have a normal life. This was much to the public’s dismay as they were desperate to see him. Experts predicted this baby could earn millions through endorsements.
Tuatahi’s birth was followed by five other babies nationwide in the first 20 minutes of the millennium. This will forever be marked as a monumental date in our history.
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