There will be two things on the Dean of Waiapu's mind when he takes a very public seat inside St John Cathedral in Napier tomorrow.

The Very Reverend Dr Michael Godfrey will be thinking about the sound of a razor and what it is clearing from his head and face - but more than that, his thoughts will be with his late nephew Ben, who like "too many" lost his life to leukaemia.

"Ben died about 10 years ago and he was a real battler - a bloke's bloke," said Dr Godfrey.

The young Waikato man battled the illness staunchly and stoically.


"He was only 22 and he touched a lot of lives - but he did not let that thing slow him down," Dr Godfrey said.

So when he was visiting the United States last October, he made a decision to let a barber make his mark to become part of the Leukaemia and Blood Council (LBC) New Zealand's Shave for a Cure campaign.

"So from then on I didn't bother to shave or cut my hair - I thought, 'bugger it, I'll grow it as scruffy as I can'," he said with a smile.

Until tomorrow when, after the liturgy at the Easter Sunday service at the cathedral has been completed just after 11am, he will take a seat in what will be a temporary barber shop.

"Yes, I am bit nervous about it because it will be rather public," said Dr Godfrey.

"But I want to maximise the impact and hopefully it may have a ripple effect and get others involved."

As well as raising money for the LBC, he will accept koha also.

"I want to do this because it is an important cause, and as a church leader I think it is critical to be involved in acts of compassion and care."


As well as fundraise, he wanted to show his encouragement to all families who had been touched by the illness.

"It is such a terrible thing because it can take anyone and it can come right out of the blue."

Dr Godfrey said there would be no compromises when it came to lopping the locks. "The lot," he said. "It'll be a Yul Brynner job - a Kojak."

Although he drew the line at having the eyebrows removed.

"I told him if he touches them he's a goneburger," he laughed.

It will be the second time Dr Godfrey has taken part in Shave for a Cure, having lost his locks when he was living in Whangarei eight years ago.

While the national event is set to run between April 4 and 10, Dr Godfrey wanted to tie it in with Easter Sunday.

"Shave for a Cure is such an exciting fundraiser for LBC, and every year we are so blown away by the amount of selfless people who decide to shave," said LBC NZ chief executive Pru Etcheverry.

This year's fundraising target is $1.5 million, and as LBC receives no government funding it relies on Shave for a Cure campaigners to continue to supporting Kiwis and their families living with a blood cancer or related condition.

LBC's services include patient support, funding for research, information and awareness programmes, and advocating on behalf of patients.