Shortland Street: 21 years of babies
As the Coopers struggle with Zlata's surprising news, we take a look back at 21 years of cuteness with the babies of Shortland Street.
The first episode....
The very first baby on Shortland Street arrived in the very first episode. Lisa Stanton was almost full term when she was involved in a car crash that set off her labour. Despite the fact that clinic policy dictated that maternity cases should be referred to the appropriate child birth facilities, renegade Doctor, Hone Ropata, insisted that there wasn’t enough time and that the baby needed to be delivered right then and there – much to the disgust of rule abider, Charge Nurse Carrie Burton. Meanwhile, receptionist Marj Neilson and her husband, paramedic Tom, were shocked to discover that their 16 year old son, Stuart was claiming to be the father of the little girl. It was later discovered that it was in fact his older brother, Darryl’s child and that Stuart was covering for him because Darryl was married.
Carrie’s biological clock was ticking and she decided to have children on her own. Several of her colleagues offered to be the father, but as none were men that Carrie wanted permanently in her life she decided to set things up so that no one would know who the father of her triplets was. Steve Mills was convinced they were his children, but they were in fact Chris Warner’s offspring.
Carmen and Guy fell in love and when Carmen was adamant she didn’t want children Guy decided true love was more important than babies and had a vasectomy. But on the eve of a world trip, Carmen discovered she was pregnant. The vasectomy had been less than effective and Guy was overjoyed when Carmen decided to keep the baby. Their daughter, Tuesday Warner, was born in dramatic fashion after the Toroa (the ferry Guy and Carmen lived on) broke its moorings in a storm and drifted out to sea.
Ellen and David were a hugely popular couple and their family, which included Ellen’s daughter Minnie and David’s troublesome son Fergus, provided the basis for lots of great storylines. When Ellen fell pregnant, they tied the knot in a surprise wedding – guests were gathered thinking it was a birthday party for Grace Kwan. Baby Rose was born a couple of weeks later. It was almost an unscheduled home birth when Ellen was trapped in her bathroom but Caroline arrived in the nick of time. Unfortunately, Ellen and David were devastated when Rose died of cot death nearly eight months after their romantic wedding.
Tiffany was pregnant when she lost her life in the line of duty. Out shopping, she saw Tim, an unstable patient, heading for the roof of a high rise block and realised he was thinking of committing suicide. Tiffany followed him and, climbed onto the edge of the building to try to talk him out of jumping. It was touch and go, but Tim responded to her enthusiasm for life – despite all its ups and downs. But as they prepared to climb back to safety Tiffany slipped and fell. Devastated husband Johnny Marinovich had to make a difficult choice between letting her go, or keeping her on life support until their baby was born. Baby Maria was born by emergency C-section and then Johnny had the heart-breaking job of turning of Tiff’s life support.
Nurse Toni Thompson’s party girl reputation was confirmed for many when she became pregnant – to either Chris or Adam Heywood. Interest in the baby’s paternity was high especially from Adam’s girlfriend Waverley, and Chris’s partner Rachel. Chris suspected early on that Harry had ‘the Warner chin’ but it took a while to confirm that he was in fact the baby’s father. Patience was never Rachel’s forte and in a memorable scene she took a DNA swab from Chris’s mouth while he slept and sent it for analysis. It was eventually revealed that Harry was indeed Chris’s son, but by that time he was with Donna. Eventually, Toni and Chris reconciled and married making Harry’s family unit complete.
Te Hana Hudson was surprised but delighted when her surrogate daughter Shannon returned to Ferndale. She invited Shannon to stay, but soon realised the young woman had a secret – she was pregnant. Te Hana encouraged Shannon to confide in her – but she was completely unprepared to learn the father’s identity – her own son, Tama!
The teens agreed to give custody of their baby over to Victor (Tama’s Uncle) and Anne Kahu as part of a Whangai arrangement, but before this could occur, Ngakau tragically died of Strep B infection. As four sets of parents - birth parents Tama and Shannon, and whangai parents Victor and Anne Kahu – mourned, the whanau travelled to their Northland marae for Ngakau’s tangi. This was Shortland Street’s first Tangi, and first episodes shot on a Marae.
Nick started a relationship with Angela Weaver and fell in love. When Angela fell pregnant, Nick embraced the prospect of being a dad. However, his happiness was shortlived when Angela discovered she had cancer.
Baby Lucas arrived, but his mother knew she didn’t have long to live. Wave and Nick turned to each other for friendship, and Wave became more of a mother to Lucas than Angela ever had the chance to be.
The Harrisons were one of the show’s most endearing families. Lucas was Nick’s child from a previous relationship, but loved Wave like his own mother and when baby Tina-Anne (named partly for Anne Greenlaw, who had recently died) was born in the show’s 3000 th episode, their family was complete.
Rangimarie Hudson (2005)
After the heartbreaking loss of their first baby, Ngakau, Tama and Shannon drifted apart and broke up. However, they were eventually reunited and fell pregnant with their second child. Baby Rangimarie Hudson was born at the end of 2005. This baby was special in that actor Amber Cureen who played Shannon, was also pregnant in real life and, in a first for the show, the writers were able to incorporate the pregnancy into storylines. Amber’s own baby, Mia, played Rangimarie on the show.
Lesbian Maia Jeffries had long dreamed of becoming a mother, but the fact that she was happily married to her lesbian partner, Jay meant that the traditional way of conceiving a baby was not likely to happen. Jay and Maia investigated different possibilities for finding a sperm donor but all the options fell through. In a desperate last resort to get pregnant, Maia did the unthinkable and used her sister Tania’s new husband, Mark Weston’s (who had always harboured feelings for Maia) donation to inseminate herself. When Tania discovered that Mark had betrayed her and that her new nephew or niece was also going to be her husband’s son or daughter, she was devastated and their marriage was destroyed. Tragically, Maia’s wife Jay was murdered before they baby arrived. Despite her feelings about Maia’s betrayal, Tania was forced to help deliver Maia’s baby during a traffic jam. The baby boy was named Jay.
When kind-hearted Morgan Braithwaite initially agreed to be a surrogate for Cindy and Trent Watson it was simply to help out a couple of old friends. Pretending to be Cindy at the clinic, Morgan had Cindy’s eggs implanted and then discovered she was pregnant with triplets! When Cindy and Trent indicated that they were not keen on the idea of triplets and suggested that she abort one of the foetuses, Morgan began to realise she couldn’t hand the babies over to a couple who would recommend such a thing. With the ever-loyal Gerald pledging emotional and financial support, Morgan decided that she would keep the triplets who from a legal standpoint would be seen as hers anyway. Ostracised by friends and workmates for her decision, Morgan struggled through the pregnancy determined to keep them. But when they finally arrived, she realised that she really didn’t have a claim to them and returned them to Cindy and Trent.
Party-girl Alice Piper came close to death when she was captured by serial killer Joey Henderson. After her lucky escape, she went a little crazy and went off the tracks, much to the concern of her partner, Craig Valentine. After one drunken bender, she wound up heading home with party-boy Guy Warner and spent the night with him. Several weeks later Alice discovered that she was pregnant, but had no idea who the father was. Despite her initial reservations, Alice decided to keep the baby and began to embrace the idea of motherhood. Unfortunately, Alice was diagnosed with pre-gestational diabetes and her baby was born prematurely. Every effort was made to save baby Kelly, but tragically, she passed away a few weeks after she was born.
Tillie Potts’ spectacular entry in to the world (in a ditch in the middle of the countryside) perhaps indicates that this baby’s life is destined to be tumultuous. Not only was her arrival dramatic, but her conception and her mother’s pregnancy were also filled with drama, leading many to wonder just lies in store for this Shortland Street tot. The child of Sarah Potts and TK Samuels, Tillie was conceived when the pair, who had separated earlier in the year, reunited for one last night of passion before Sarah headed off to America for good. After Sarah left, TK moved on with his life and fell in love with Nurse Roimata Ngatai. Roimata and TK were in the early stages of their relationship when Sarah returned to Ferndale, visibly pregnant to drop the bombshell on TK. Needless to say Roimata wasn’t overly pleased to hear that TK’s ex-wife was pregnant with his child and TK was clearly torn between his doing his duty to Sarah and their unborn child, and maintaining his relationship with Roimata. Sarah became convinced that she could persuade TK that they should get back together, and the pregnancy was a tough time for all involved as they all dealt with the situation in their own ways. But in the end, TK chose to marry Roimata and opting to be noble, Roimata invited Sarah to the wedding. However, Sarah went into labour on a country road all alone, and when TK left the wedding to go her aid, he left Roimata in the lurch and her own wedding. On his way to Sarah, he came across a serious accident and Sarah ended up giving birth on the side of the road with only TK’s nemisis, Owen Sutherland for help.
Teenager Ula Levi broke her parents’ hearts when she was finally forced to reveal that she was pregnant in 2012. Having kept it a secret for several months, she was forced to come clean when she required an x-ray for a wrist injury. But although she admitted being pregnant, she refused to reveal who the baby’s father was. Evan Cooper was in love with Ula and did what not many boys his age would do, claiming that he was the father and would shoulder the responsibility of fatherhood. Despite the fact that Ula didn’t love Evan in return, and he wasn’t the father (it was in fact, her very brief and wayward boyfriend Tom Stanton who had fathered the child), Ula played along with the lie. Banding together, the teens families began make plans for the young couple and their baby with the Coopers even buying a bigger house so that Evan and Ula could have some space of their own. Evan even went so far as to quit school and get a job as an orderly at the hospital in order to provide for his new ‘family’. But the pressure of the lie became too much for Ula and she got closer to her due date, she began to realise that she didn’t love Evan enough to continue with the farce that they had created. She dropped the bombshell that he wasn’t the father after all. After trying to make a go of it alone, and dealing briefly with the return of unreliable Tom, Ula made a monumental decision about her unborn child and announced she was going to adopt the baby out. Maxwell and Vasa were devastated by this announcement and Vasa even volunteered to raise the baby as her own, but Ula was not to be swayed. Baby Adam was given to a very loving family, but Vasa has found it hard to let go and secretly keeps in contact with her grandson....
Zlata’s surprise baby
Zlata returned to Romania after Luke broke her heart by choosing Bella over her. But now that Luke is gone, who should turn up on the Coopers’ doorstep but Zlata and baby Luca. Zlata claims that Luke is the baby’s father, but Murray is dubious. Is it just a coincidence that Bella has recently inherited Luke’s money, or is Zlata telling the truth when she insists she was unaware of Luke’s death?