National | Cervical Cancer

Ride4Talei to hit the road to Te Matatini for cervical cancer awareness

Friends and whānau of Talei Morrison will once again take to their bikes in February to raise awareness of cervical awareness ahead of Te Matatini.

Ride4Talei will depart Wellington in February headed for Te Matatini at Auckland’s Eden Park. The organiser of the kaupapa, Te Ururoa Flavell says that, as it did four years earlier, the group will be looking to spread the “Smear Your Mea” message Morrison founded after being diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2017.

"Basically we're taking the mauri of Smear Your Mea and Ride4Talei from the last place we left it at, the pōwhiri site at Te Papa and ending up at Eden Park along with the many performers," he told

Flavell says the inaugural ride successfully raised awareness and is hoping riding on the back of Te Matatini will once again encourage wāhine Māori, in particular, to get a smear test that screens for cancer that affects around 160 women each year.

“Kapa haka was her passion and she wanted to ensure no Māori woman went through the trauma that she went through, and worse that should die through lack of awareness and lack education.”

Flavell continues to honour Talei Morrison's legacy to raise cervical cancer awareness.

'Not about money'

Morrison encouraged wāhine in kapa haka to get a smear test as a group ahead of Te Matatini at Wellington in 2019.

Smear Your Mea, the charitable trust established to change attitudes towards smear has won a number of awards recognising its mahi since Morrison’s death in 2018. Flavell, who championed the Ride4Talei kaupapa when he was an MP, says the aspirations for Smear Your Mea are the same.

“It’s not about money, it’s about putting the message in the hearts and minds of our women and our kapa haka women to get smeared. The downside of Talei’s kōrero was it was basically too late for her to do anything. She tried all sorts but, basically, it was too late, and yet it is preventable, the same as prostate cancer.

Catching it earlier

“Every one of us has this thing that is triggered as soon as you end up with a partner, in a sexual way it starts.  The thing is to monitor it just as much as you monitor prostate cancer with blood tests. We also have to get smears to ensure when it does start to form, we’ve got a handle on it and track it far earlier than Talei.”

Ride4Talei will depart Te Papa in Wellington on February 14 and the group is expected to take seven days to make the trip to Auckland.