National | Cervical Cancer

Miraka backs ‘Smear your Mea’ campaign cycle ride to Te Matatini

Photo / Supplied

Māori-owned dairy company Miraka is 'doing its bit' to support cancer awareness, named as the key sponsor of the 2023 ‘Smear your Mea’ campaign.

Smear your Mea raises awareness about cervical and prostate cancer, including early screening to detect and treat cancer in wāhine and tāne.

Miraka Chairman, Kingi Smiler, says the Taupō-based company is socially focused and keen to support community initiatives, particularly those which aid wāhine Māori.

“Miraka is an international business established, funded and operated by a workforce which includes a large number of wāhine.

“Cervical cancer remains one of the most common forms of cancer, particularly among our wāhine Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand, Smiler said in a statement.

“I am pleased that Miraka is doing our bit as a values and socially focused enterprise to support initiatives like this which are for the greater benefit of the community and indeed the nation.”

Miraka CEO, Karl Gradon, says its "values-based, whānau orientated organisation" is especially "delighted" to support the mahi of the Smear your Mea Trust, which "strives to protect the hauora (health) of current and future generations".

Smear your Mea trustee, Te Ururoa Flavell, says the centrepiece of the trust’s 2023 campaign is a group of 17 cyclists who will ride from Wellington to Auckland between 14 to 21 February to arrive in time for the start of the national kapa haka festival Te Matatini.

Flavell says the trust was established "as a legacy and in memory of the late Talei Morrison - a young mother, teacher and a well-respected Māori performing arts exponent. Talei passed away in 2018 from cervical cancer.”

When the cyclists ride into Tūrangi and then Taupō on 17 February, Miraka will provide extra support beyond its financial sponsorship.

"We’ll help raise local awareness about cervical cancer and the importance of early screening," says Miraka's Karl Gradon.

Miraka will organise two community events in Taupō on Friday 17 February and the following day, Saturday 18 February, in Tokoroa as the cyclists ride en route to Auckland.

The cycling group will be accompanied by a support crew and a mobile testing clinic where people can take a screening test during stops in towns along the route from Wellington.