On Sunday the 30th of June, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao supported 30 wāhine to have their cervical smear tests done. An awesome effort by all involved.
Talei's campaign to inform and educate wāhine Māori on the importance of cervical cancer screening has reached far and wide. Her bravery and strength continues to inspire thousands, the collective community effort resonating strongly with whānau Māori.
Talei Morrison had a story worth telling. It was a story of a bad experience having a smear. However, instead of telling someone, Talei chose never to discuss it and instead put it out of her mind and carried on with her life.
There came a time many years later when she became troubled with constant bleeding, and assumed it was problems with her period. That was when Talei discovered that cervical cancer had taken hold and despite medical intervention, it was too little too late. The 42-year-old kapa haka performer, mother of three and founder of the Smear Your Mea Campaign died on June 16, 2018 after a nine-month fight with cervical cancer.
From the time of her diagnosis to her passing, Talei made the decision to tell her story in the hope that not one more wahine would find themselves in her position. Talei was committed to Kapa Haka among other things and made sure she informed all her whānau, kapa, tauira and anyone at any opportunity about her journey.
Ultimately, she inspired women nationwide to prioritise their cervical health. She chronicled her journey in this blog, a harrowing read, but a reality check for ngā wāhine katoa.
Talei changed the narrative of this journey by committing to inspire wāhine mō ake tonu atu.
He taonga tō tinana – Your body is precious
Protect our whakapapa – You are the ancestor of future generations
Ko koe te whare tangata – You are the giver of life.
Do this for your tamariki, mokopuna but especially for yourself!
By June Grant