The Waikite Rugby and Sports Club was filled with song as people carried on supporting the Smear Your Mea campaign in memory of Talei Morrison.

Morrison was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year and, in an effort to raise awareness of the disease and to stop other wāhine having to go through what she did, launched the Smear Your Mea campaign.

Morrison died last month, aged 42, after a nine-month battle with the cancer. More than 500 people attended her funeral at Rotorua's Te Papaiouru Marae on June 20.

Concert co-organiser Krissie Knap said all 200 tickets for the To Talei With Love #SYM fundraising concert yesterday had been sold, and it was sold out three-and-a-half weeks beforehand.


There were 15 artists who voluntarily performed at the concert, as well as 25 volunteers helping to run it, she said.

She said it was overwhelming to see so many people at the event and that others who were not attending had still made donations.

The event also featured auctions, raffles and limited edition concert T-shirts.

Co-organiser Lauren James said the Smear Your Mea campaign was important for people to get behind because it promoted Māori health, and it was known statistically that Māori had poorer outcomes.

James said if we did intervention and prevention the health outcomes could be improved.

"We really want 100 per cent of Māori women to smear their mea."

She said seeing so many people there to support the fundraiser was a mixture of emotions.

"It's just over a week since Talei was laid to rest but today is a remembrance of the legacy she has left behind, and that all of us as Māori women have a responsibility to honour that legacy, particularly with the birth of her first granddaughter - she's a reminder of the future."


She said they would like to raise $10,000 for the campaign, including the ticket sales and donations which had flooded in from all over the world.

They also wanted to thank the sponsors, with about 20 organisations contributing to the event, as well as to the Rotorua community for its support.

The Rotorua community gather to enjoy the To Talei with Love fundraising concert. Photo/Andrew Warner
The Rotorua community gather to enjoy the To Talei with Love fundraising concert. Photo/Andrew Warner

Kingi Biddle said he went along to the concert because he wanted to take any opportunity he could to pass on and support Morrison's message.

"It's about getting yourself tested because you can't do anything until you know if you have anything, what it is and how long you've had it.

"It's about someone's health, and the quality of life for themselves and those around them."

He said Smear Your Mea was a nationwide legacy and that kapa haka exponents from all around the country were still carrying the message forward.

Eileen Jones is a Waikite Rugby and Sports Club committee member, and says it was an awesome turnout to the concert.

"To have something here that important for women is fantastic."

She said getting your cervical screening was important for peace of mind for both yourself and your family.

If it was caught early there was also more of a success rate for women, she said.