December 2017

"Why is it always women talking about women's issues?" This was the question Tui Ora health promoter Kimiora Te Wiki's husband, Kara, asked her.

"Why don't you ask what men think?"

So she did - and every day since the start of November men have come forward to say how important it is for the women in their life to stay healthy. Each opinion has been shared on the Tui Ora Public Health Facebook page.

This is called the Mana Tāne Campaign and it originated from a Tui Ora cervical screening campaign in South Taranaki.

"I thought, 'I'm going to take this some other way'," Te Wiki said. She wanted to raise awareness around cervical cancer screening so she reached out where she knew she'd be able to touch many people - Facebook.

Te Wiki put a post on the Tui Ora Facebook page asking men to respond and say why it is important for the women in their life to be healthy. The page became inundated with messages and instead of the campaign just going through November it has carried on through December and is still backlogged.

"My brother was the first one. He was really keen because he'd lost people from his wife's family through cancer," she said.

His was the first post to go public for the campaign and said women's health was important 'to enjoy life, to enjoy your children and to smile and mean it.'

"It ended up spreading to Australia, the UK, and it's still going," Te Wiki said.

Some people got their children involved too - Te Wiki asked her five-year-old son, Manawa, why it's important for her to stay healthy.

"I need your snuggly wugglys," he said.

Te Wiki said people were happy to talk about breast cancer, but cervical cancer was more sensitive.

"Men aren't quite sure if they should have an opinion about it and many don't know anything about the test itself. This is raising a whole lot of awareness," she said.

"There is a lot of fear of cancer so this has generated a lot of kōrero."

Because of the success of the campaign, Te Wiki is planning a variety show in March.

"Although cancer is everywhere we don't actually talk about it," she said. The idea is for us to think about the illness that's so close to us."

There will be entertainment, stories about people's journey with cancer, and more.

"We want to get the community to start saying, 'let's talk about this'."

- Stuff

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