The Ministry of Health is heading to mediation with midwives on Monday, in a last-ditch effort to solve a major pay dispute.
It's the country's biggest equal pay challenge, with the College of Midwives' Karen Guilliland saying there's been a breach of gender rules under the Bill of Rights.
"It's taken us a long time and quite a lot of money to get to this point. For us, we're totally dedicated to have an outcome."
Almost all of New Zealand's 3000 midwives are women.
Ms Guilliland says the profession is totally under-valued.
"Now is the hour, and we're feeling pretty confident that the ministry at last has heard what we're saying, and we'll all come to the table in good faith."
Midwives are being shouldered with extra responsibilities, says Ms Guilliland.
"Midwives now look after... 92 percent of women," she says. "When we first started we only looked after women who were well and healthy. We now look after all women."
Ms Guilliland says the case may go to court if mediation isn't successful.