Labour MP Tāmati Coffey's baby son Tūtānekai makes Parliament debut

Labour MP Tāmati Coffey's baby son Tūtānekai Smith-Coffey has joined Trevor Mallard in the Speaker's seat in Parliament. 

The baby boy sat on Mallard's lap during the general debate on Wednesday, with the Speaker sporting a grin as he rocked Tūtānekai in his arms. 

Coffey, MP for Waiariki, announced the birth of his son last month. He and his husband Tim Smith said they were "overwhelmed at the miracle of life". 

Smith was the biological father of the baby and the surrogate mother was a "friend of a friend", Coffey said at the time.  

He told Newshub his son and partner have both been in Wellington all week to help him transition back to work at Parliament, after being on paternity leave. 

MPs reacted positively to his son's Parliament debut on Twitter, with Green MP Gareth Hughes saying: "Lovely to have a baby in the House, and what a beautiful one."

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman tweeted: "Who needs to see this today? Every single last one of us, that's who."

"I've felt really supported by my colleagues from across the House," Coffey told Newshub. 

"Babies have a way of calming down the intense environment of Parliament and I think we need more of them around to remind us of the real reason we are all here."

He first revealed the couple was expecting at Auckland's Big Gay Out earlier this year. 

It isn't the first time a baby has been held by the Speaker in Parliament. Labour MP Willow-Jean Prime's baby daughter Heeni got the same treatment in 2017. 

Prime, a list MP, made headlines that year by breastfeeding her baby in Parliament. 

Hiwa-i-te-rangi, the baby of Labour MP Kiri Allan and her partner, also made an appearance in Parliament with a cameo in the arms of the Speaker. 

"We have even joked about kicking off a Labour Māori Baby Caucus," Coffey said. 

"It is well known that the Speaker loves babies and has created a Parliament that is receptive to babies and is whānau friendly so I knew that he would be keen."

Mallard became Speaker in 2017 and promised to make Parliament a more family-friendly place. 

A special room near the House chamber was established in the 1980s to allow women to breastfeed. But it wasn't until the 1990s that a Parliamentary childcare facility was setup.