Rotorua will be alight with blue hues next month as part of Prostate Cancer Foundation's national awareness campaign.
Blue September will once again feature iconic Rotorua buildings and landmarks lit up with blue lighting. They include Rotorua Lakes Council's Civic Centre, Rotorua Museum, Princes Gate Archway, Seddon Memorial Town Clock tower (i-SITE building), City Focus and the bike tree art installation at the Village Green.
This year's campaign will also see the Band Rotunda in Government Gardens and Eat Streat bathed in blue lighting.
The driving force behind the local movement is Rotorua Lakes Council property officer Phil Hunt, who runs the Rotorua Support Group for prostate cancer along with his wife Gayle. Mr Hunt was responsible for turning the city blue last year, and is passionate about getting the message across to men to have annual prostate checks.
Mr Hunt was diagnosed with prostate cancer himself in 2010. He believed he was clear of cancer following the removal of his prostate but in 2012 the cancer returned and he now survives on a daily cocktail of drugs.
"Blue September is all about being aware," Mr Hunt said. "We take our car in for a warrant of fitness so why don't we as men take our bodies in for a warrant of fitness? A lot of guys don't know they have prostate cancer, yet 600 New Zealanders die of prostate cancer every year. I urge men to go to their GPs for their annual prostate check, especially those 40 years and over. If it's found early enough, there are options available, and many men survive."
Mr Hunt said Rotorua's Blue September campaign would not have been possible without the support of Hepburn Electrical and Cory's Electrical who have generously provided lights and labour.
Council project manager, Brigitte Nelson, said the local Blue September campaign fits well with Light Rotorua's vision to make Rotorua a lighter, brighter city all year round.
"Blue September provides a wonderful opportunity to combine Light Rotorua's vision with such an important cause. We're delighted to be part of this project, which will not only create interest in our city, but raise awareness of men's health issues."
Last year's national campaign resulted an increase of 18 per cent of men across New Zealand seeing their GPs for prostate checks in September and November.