I am happy to see times are changing when it comes to talk about a woman's period and the ongoing costs associated with one of life's natural occurrences.
When I first started my menstrual cycle I had no idea what was happening. My mother preferred the "wait and then let's have a chat" about periods. I did not.
Granted in that era, we are going back a few decades, her approach was not uncommon. I did not repeat that scenario with my three daughters and they were informed well in advance of the upcoming milestone.
I applauded Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern when she announced this time last year to begin a nationwide rollout of free period products in schools.
This initiative was in part designed to combat period poverty and to be honest, it was something I had never really thought about.
Period products were always included in my grocery shop and if I was running short of money I had the luxury of swapping something out. Or borrowing a few bucks to buy them.
Many families don't have this option and it was heartbreaking to hear of female students who were kept at home because they had no pads or tampons.
In the Bay of Plenty, 153 schools and kura opted in to phase one of the free products in schools.
According to the Ministry of Education, hundreds of thousands of tampons and pads have been supplied so far in the Bay including 3000 cartons each containing 12 packs of product.
Tauranga Girls' College principal Tara Kanji said the initiative was appreciated.
While tampons were favoured over pads, period underwear was what "most girls would prefer", she said.
These were not yet included in the initiative, but some had been provided by period equity advocacy group Dignity.
Dignity general manager Anika Speedy said there was "such a huge need".
"We know it has such a huge influence on school kids' ability to participate, engage and on self-confidence."
She said it would be fantastic to see more sustainable products, such as period underwear, be introduced to the initiative.
I agree. I think this would be a more sustainable option for the environment as they could be washed and reused.
Speedy also said the girls talked about how comfortable the underwear was.
Edgecumbe College principal Mike Jackson said of the 180 students at the school about 30 per cent of those in need were using the free pads and tampons available to them.
They could retrieve them from the nurse's office without having to ask.
"It doesn't become an embarrassment for them ... this is a place they need to feel safe, secure and looked after."
Ministry of Education operations and integration leader Sean Teddy Hautū acknowledged poor access to period products could affect students' attendance and engagement at school.
That is sad. There are enough barriers for students to overcome at school and this should not be one of them.
I am all in favour of more government funding to make period underwear available. To me it's a no brainer.