Pamper day celebrates women’s health
For some it’s a scary time, even embarrassing, so a group of women set up a pamper day to encourage Invercargill wahine (women) to break the stigma about smears.
The Mana Wahine Health and Pamper day on Friday at Awarua Social and Health Services in Invercargill had about 100 women attend, most with their family and friends, to get a smear and enjoy some pampering afterwards.
Mauri ora kaimahi (health promoter) Nadine Young was organising the event this year, which was in its third year running.
The purpose was to support Cervical Screening Awareness month, she said.
The women got massages, ta¯ moko Ma¯ori tattoos, hair styling, nail art and other beauty services, after their free cervical screens which were provided by on-site nurses.
Young said there was a lack of Ma¯ori women who would regularly have smears done, so the day was important to provide both education and support for them.
Working with businesses, including the Heart Foundation, Loss and Grief Centre, Cancer Society and Southern District Health Board cervical screening advisor Sue Smith, Young hoped the day would help to increase the number of women who got smears. Even if they did not get a smear on the day, it was good to provide some education for the women, she said.
Numbers of people attending the day had grown in the past three years.
‘‘It’s been amazing, I couldn’t wish for it to be better.
‘‘We had from young mums to older women.
‘‘It’s about getting women to treat themselves. Lots of them really enjoy the pamper aspect.’’
Sisters, mums and daughters and small groups of friends were the most common, she said.
Awarua Social & Health Services wha¯nau ora navigator and health promoter Crystal Ellis said it was important to ‘‘dumb down the stigma’’ about getting a smear.
The pamper day was an accessible, fun and supportive day for the women to come together.
‘‘It’s women helping women.’’ Every year, 160 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in New Zealand, and 50 women die from it.
Having regular cervical smear tests reduces the risk of developing cervical cancer by 90 per cent.
Southern Institute of Technology massage student Cate Thomson gives Pip Hartley a massage.