Mammograms for wahine Māori at Pink Ribbon breakfast event
27 May 2019

Raising money for cancer support isn't the only aim of a Pink Ribbon breakfast in Matapihi.

Some of the women attending the breakfast at Hungahungatoroa Marae in Matapihi this month will have a mammogram the day before, earning a free ticket to the breakfast and a special pamper pack.

Pink Ribbon Breakfast is Breast Cancer Foundation NZ's biggest fundraising campaign, held in May each year.

Waipu Hauora has been holding a Pink Ribbon Breakfast at Hungahungatoroa Marae in Matapihi for the past six years and this year will be donating its proceeds to the Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga Trust.

Waipu Hauora Whanau Ora co-ordinator Riria Gibbons said even if just a small group of women signed up for a mammogram, it would be a good outcome.

"It's great to support the cause but even better to get the mahi (work) done. We will also have the Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation here on the day to sign women up to the national breast screening programme so they will be notified when the time comes."

Women aged between 45 and 69 years can get a free mammogram every two years.

As well as enjoying breakfast, women attending the event will learn about breast awareness and screening and the biopsy process.

"It's about creating a safe space to ask questions. And by asking those questions those women will be helping others who want to know the same thing," Gibbons said.

Breast cancer survivors will also speak, as well as representatives from the Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga Trust.

"It will be a lot of fun, with everyone dressing up in pink to support their sisters across the motu (peninsula)," Gibbons said.

The Western Bay of Plenty PHO is close to reaching its Ministry of Health breast screening target of 70 per cent of wahine Māori in the region, but not all wahine Māori are enrolled with BreastScreen Midland.

PHO services leader Philippa Jones said enrolment was free and easy to do - and may save your life.

"Your GP or the PHO's Health and Wellness Services will be happy to support you to enrol."

Screening co-ordinator Joanne Tuhakaraina said while breast screening rates are up, there was also a need to get cervical screening rates up.

"We have to target our Pacific Island and Asian women who also have low screening rates, and all those women out there who have never screened or are under-screened. They are a priority as well."

The PHO's Support to Screening team is often invited to speak to other health professionals about how they encourage women to screen, which includes promotion at events such as the Pink Ribbon Breakfast.

Last year the team promoted breast and cervical screening at the Tauranga Moana Tangata Tauranga Festival. More than 50 women underwent screening leading up to the Labour Weekend festival to earn "points" for their marae towards the event's supreme title.

If you would like to talk to someone about having a mammogram freephone BreastScreen Midland on 0800 270200.

The Waipu Hauora Pink Ribbon Breakfast is on Friday from 8am to 10.30am. To purchase a ticket email Riria Gibbons at: riria@waipuhauora.org.nz.

- Bay of Plenty Times

Joanne Tuhakaraina from the WBOP PHO, centre, has joined with the team at Waipu Hauora - Helen Te Kani, Keriana Hoko-Smith, Riria Gibbons and Hutiao Dickson - to organise mammograms. Photo / supplied Bay of Plenty Times