A promise kept, a kaupapa elevated and long journey done were thoughts accompanying Te Ururoa Flavell as he led a group of cyclists into Te Matatini this week.

The promise was to take Rotorua's Talei Morrison to the national kapa haka event, the kaupapa was Morrison's Smear Your Mea campaign and the journey was from Morrison's resting place at Kauae Cemetery to the capital by bike.

Morrison was the inspiration and instigation behind the Smear Your Mea campaign.

After her own diagnosis of cervical cancer, Morrison started the campaign in an effort to get every kaihaka (performer) woman within each of the roopu (groups) to have a smear.

Advertisement

Following her death in June last year, Flavell and a number of Morrison's friends and family, have grown Smear Your Mea. The campaign now encourages women to have their smears and men to have prostate checks.

"It was an awesome feeling to finish the ride," Flavell said. "It had been a big week with the 12 cyclists and our support crew all away from whānau for the duration of the cycle so reaching the end goal was great."

He said the bike ride had gone incredibly well with no hiccups other than some big hills and some strong head winds.

"Our support crew were amazing, from making our lunches through to massaging our tired bodies, they just did everything to make it easy for us.

"The support from each of the towns and cities we cycled through was also great and gratefully received."

He said if only one person in every town they rode through had a smear or prostate check, they had been successful.

Related articles:

ROTORUA DAILY POST
15 Feb, 2019 7:30am
3 minutes to read

"That's one more person who may be prevented from dying of cervical or prostate cancer."

The group of cyclists were welcomed in to Te Matatini with a haka and Flavell fulfilled the promise he made to Morrison by placing her [a photograph of Talei] on to the Te Matatini stage.

Flavell also made an impassioned plea to the people who had converged in Wellington for the pōhiri welcoming everyone to Te Matatini.

"It's not often you're going to get a crowd as big as the one at Matatini so I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I got to tell people to look after themselves and look after their whānau."