WHITIREIA journalism student CARL SUURMOND went to the Chatham Islands with the Prostate Cancer Foundation last weekend. Here’s his first report (see below for his SLIDE SHOW):
FLYING PROSTATE TEAM: from left, Carl Suurmond, Dene Ainsworth, Daniel Marshall, David Mason, Ash Zoias, Kelvin McDonald and Joe Tapara.
PROSTABLOG NZ: The men of the Chatham Islands are a tough breed of fishermen and farmers whose work environments have shaped their hardwearing demeanour – but it’s the women of the island who are really tough.
Without the support and encouragement of wives, partners and mothers, many of the male inhabitants of the island may not have turned up at the presentations on prostate cancer held over the weekend.
Prostate Cancer Foundation board member Dene Ainsworth (left) and Joe Tapara.
That’s the view of Joe Tapara (Ngāti Ruanui), cultural adviser for the Hao Te Ora o Wharekauri Trust and member of the Chatham Islands Māori Community Health.
“The wives and the partners were the reason why so many men turned up,” he said. “Without them nagging, I’m not sure how many would have bothered.”
Dene (right) in the jump seat behind the pilots.
The weekend presentations aimed to raise awareness of prostate cancer and promote early detection, with a focus on reducing fatalities amongst Māori men.
Maori are less likely to be diagnosed early and suffer a death rate after diagnosis that is twice that of non-Māori.
The trip was funded and organised by the NZ Prostate Cancer Foundation, in conjunction with Māori Community Health and Chatham Island Health Care.
David Mason (right) and Daniel Marshall get checked out on a boat at Port Hutt.
ISLAND FOOD: The team is spoiled at Kaingaroa.
The team included the expertise of urologist Dave Mason and trainee urologist registrar Daniel Marshall, both from Hastings.
Otaki’s Dene Ainsworth (Te Āti Awa Iwi), a board member on the foundation, and prostate cancer survivor, shared his own experience during four well-attended presentations to several communities around the island, which is 800km off the coast of Christchurch.
Dene speaks to one of the Chathams gatherings.
In total, 40 men out of 135 over the age of 40 – and a few women – turned out, and in small communities like Kaingaroa Harbour, Owenga and Port Hutt just about all the male population was there to have their questions and concerns answered.
The tour round the main of the Chathams group was organised by Mr Tapara, with plenty of help from other locals.
Mr Ainsworth said the weekend was a great success and the desired outcome had been achieved.
“It was a bloody awesome weekend. I think we achieved more than we could have ever hoped for. The reaction from the islanders was first class and they’re really keen to get us to go back and do this on a regular basis.”
Mr Mason and his colleague were there to address medical concerns and provide advice.
“I think the turnout has been amazing,” said Dave Mason. “Each place that we’ve been to, the guys have come out and talked about things in different ways and brought up different concerns.
“There was a good bit of interest and a good spread of age groups.”
Mr Marshall said the men were not shy about asking questions.
“From talking to them afterwards it seems they’ve got a lot out of it. They certainly haven’t been shy in asking questions and finding out what they want to know, which is what it’s all about.
“Seeing the island, seeing the style of life here, the way everyone gets on so well in the community here – it’s been brilliant.”
The waterfont at Waitangi, the main settlement.
The weekend came about through a serendipitous meeting between Dene Ainsworth and Joe Tapara at the first-ever Māori men’s health conference, Tane Ora, held in Blenheim earlier this year.
MAORI TV: Kelvin McMcdonald (left) & Ash Zoias.
Dene spoke about prostate cancer in a presentation at the conference and was heard by Joe Tapara.
The two talked about men’s health and prostate cancer and Joe told Dene that his presentation was needed on the Chatham Islands.
“I agreed that Chatham Islands men should have the same access and opportunity to these sorts of presentations as ‘mainland’ New Zealanders,” said Dene.
The trip, which was funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, was filmed by a crew from Maori Television, which will show it on its top current affairs programme, Native Affairs.
VIEW THE CHATHAM ISLANDS TRIP SLIDESHOW HERE
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