Free cervical screening at Waka Ama Nats

By Regan Paranihi

With a great number of paddlers at National Waka Ama Competition at Lake Karāpiro being female, Cervical Screening Waikato has set up shop to encourage more wahine to get their free cervical screening test.  

It is also a service that continues to raise awareness for this deadly illness.

Nadine Riwai (Ngāti Porou) says, "Cervical cancer is still very prevalent in New Zealand. We have 150 wāhine that are diagnosed every year and of those 50 will not survive so we need to have our message out there more."

She also says this is a service also needs to be shared with people near and far.

"We need to bring screening more out into the community. A lot of our wāhine can't make our clinic hours and things and we need to make it more talked about and more in a setting that they can feel more invited to."

Bringing this free service to this event allows the community to have access to key information they may not get elsewhere.

"They can just kōrero to us about cervical screening or their hauora or the hauora o te whare tangata and we can engage and talk about. I hope to engage all wāhine as they walk pass and tane and all the whānau."

This is a screening Nadine says is really important for our health.

"It's a screening that can prevent cancer and we also strongly support the Smear Your Mea kaupapa in memory of Talei's legacy and one of her things in the Smear Your Mea kaupapa was saving lives one kapa at a time and whether that be kapa haka or kapa waka ama or nga kapa katoa I think it's really fitting."

Riwai also says many wāhine don't go for regular screenings because they are too shy. 

"It's a real personal thing that we ask them to do and for other reasons as well some of them might of had a bad experience and i just want to say its your appointment own it ask questions, never feel pressured.. just make it the most positive thing for you."

The free screening service will be at Lake Karāpiro for the remainder of the week.