Portia Woodman said Northland wāhine should not miss out on participating in school or sport due to a lack of access to period products. Photo / File
Northland women's rugby sevens speedster Portia Woodman and her Northland Kauri teammates are backing a new initiative to tackle period poverty in the region.
A national partnership between The Warehouse and The Period Place has seen the roll-out of donation boxes at 10 The Warehouse stores in Northland, Auckland and the Waikato.
The Northland stores involved are in Kaitaia and Kaikohe.
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Woodman, who is the local ambassador for the initiative in Kaikohe, said young people shouldn't miss out on participating in sport and other activities because period products are out of reach.
"Our wāhine should not miss out on participating in school or sport due to a lack of access to period products," Woodman said.
"Alongside my Northland Kauri teammates, I'm proud to support The Warehouse in their work with The Period Place, encouraging our whānau and communities to get involved."
Customers can donate sanitary products either purchased at The Warehouse or elsewhere, into the donation boxes.
Products collected at the Kaikohe store will be distributed by Solomon Group Northland and Far North iwi Te Rarawa will distribute products donated at Kaitaia.
The Period Place will also provide educational material about menstruation and types of products available.
The Period Place chief executive Danika Revell said it was important to get period products and education to those that need it quickly, "ensuring greater collective support and impact".
"With this mahi we are empowering community groups to do what they do best, support their community.
"We want customers to know that every time they buy products to add to these donation boxes, they're ensuring young people can keep attending school, single parents won't have to choose between food and period products, and that people facing difficult circumstances are afforded the dignity they deserve."
Period poverty is an ongoing issue in some Northland communities, causing students to skip school and use rags because they can't afford to buy sanitary items.
Around $2m was allocated to the issue in this year's Budget, however there were no details around how the money would be spent or how it would reach those in need.
During Newshub's September 30 leaders' debate, both Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National leader Judith Collins agreed that New Zealand needs to stamp out period poverty by subsidising sanitary products in schools.
Last year The Warehouse also introduced $1 period products and started donating one out of every 10 packs sold to Women's Refuge.
So far, nearly 40,000 products have been donated through the initiative.
The Warehouse chief product officer Tania Benyon said the company wanted to help break down barriers after learning how widespread the problem was in New Zealand.
"Customers wanted to know how they could get involved too, which is why in partnership with The Period Place, we are providing customer donation boxes in our stores so Kiwis can support their local communities directly."
The Warehouse has also introduced an educational hub on its website called the Period Portal, where customers can learn more about period poverty and make a donation to help get sanitary products and educational resources to Kiwis in need.
There are plans to have donation boxes in more stores in the coming year.