National | Breast Cancer Awareness.

Wāhine toa star in new breast cancer campaign

Māori poetry collective, Ngā Hinepūkōrero, are excited to lend their skills in the name of Breast Cancer awareness.

The poem, called Ahi Kā, draws on the Māori worldview (te ao Māori) of body positivity to encourage women to get a mammogram.

Arihia Hall, of Ngā Hinepūkōrero, said, “The way wāhine Māori feel about our bodies has changed throughout generations. From our ancestors’ respect for their bodies, to our grandmothers’ feelings of shame and unacceptance, to the current generation’s reclamation of te ao Māori attitudes towards the body, and the love that comes from that.

“Our poem tells the story of wāhine Māori and their journey back to respecting their breasts. We’re thrilled to be part of this national campaign, encouraging women to honour their whakapapa by loving their breasts and getting a mammogram.”

Source / Breast Cancer Foundation NZ

Ah-Leen Rayner, chief executive of Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, said, “Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in Aotearoa, accounting for more than 650 deaths every year. Our annual awareness campaign seeks to lower these deaths and this year we’re honoured to have the power of Ngā Hinepūkōrero’s poetry delivering a message that speaks to all Kiwi women.

“Regular mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, before a lump or other symptoms appear. The sooner it’s detected, the more treatable breast cancer is, making it highly survivable. So please, don’t put off having your mammogram, because it could save your life.”

Breast Cancer Foundation NZ recommends considering annual mammograms from 40-49, then every two years from 50. Free mammograms through BreastScreen Aotearoa are available for women aged 45-69 and can be booked by calling 0800 270 200.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there are loads of different ways to get involved - from being breast-aware (checking your breasts or getting a mammogram), to helping to raise vital funds for breast cancer research, education and patient support.

Pink Ribbon Street Appeal – Volunteer for, or donate to, NZ's pinkest street appeal on 29 and 30 October. Donations can also be made online at

Pink for a Day – Join hundreds of workplaces going Pink For a Day to raise vital funds and start conversations about breast health and wellbeing.

Shop for good – Buy a Pink Product from some of NZ's favourite brands, including Estée Lauder, Bobbi Brown, ghd, Sealy, and Griffin's, where a portion of sales will go towards Breast Cancer Foundation NZ's life-saving work.

See the lights – More than 30 landmarks and prominent buildings around NZ light up in pink during October. Take a photo of your nearest pink landmark and share it tagging #getlitpink to help raise awareness.

Pink Ribbon Walk (happening in November this year due to Covid-19) – Walk 5km or 10km for the ones you love in Christchurch (6 November), Wellington (13 November) or Auckland (20 November).