The legacy left behind by Rotorua’s Talei Morrison will be honoured on the anniversary of her cancer diagnosis.

The 42-year-old kapa haka performer, mother of three and founder of the Smear Your Mea Campaign died on June 16 after a nine-month fight with cervical cancer.

To Talei with Love – A whānau fun ride and hīkoi, will be held on August 26 to not only acknowledge what Morrison accomplished in her too-short life, but also to launch a national Smear Your Mea Day that will exist long after her death.

Te Ururoa Flavell is one of four of Morrison’s closest friends organising the hīkoi and bike ride. He told the Rotorua Daily Post the event was a way to acknowledge the day she was told she had cancer.

“Prior to her death we talked about doing something, particularly something involving bike riding, to support her Smear Your Mea kaupapa,” Flavell said. “This event will fulfill that commitment.”

The fun ride and hīkoi offers three events to ensure it is a family-oriented day. The first is an 8km whānau bike ride on the cycleway, the second an advanced 50km ride around Lake Rotorua and the third a walk/run option over a 6.5km course.

All three start at Kauae Urupa, Morrison’s final resting place, where a karakia will be said beside her grave.

“We wanted Talei to be right there with us with this hīkoi,” Flavell said. “And like the To Talei with Love concert, the To Talei with Love hīkoi will also start with a karakia.”

The three events all finish on the Village Green where games have been planned and where health professionals will also be set up to enable women to have a cervical smear and men to have a blood test (for prostate cancer). A barbecue will also be held.

“We want everyone to come along to the hīkoi and, for those who can, wear a teal ribbon. Teal was Talei’s colour and is also associated with the Smear Your Mea campaign.”

Flavell also encouraged anyone who wanted to have a smear done, to come to the Village Green, even if they hadn’t take part in the hīkoi.

It is from the Village Green, Morrison’s family and members of the Smear Your Mea Campaign Trust will launch the national Smear Your Mea Day.

“Talei’s ultimate goal was to have every woman involved in kapa haka Roopu contesting Te Matatini, to have had a smear before the next festival in Wellington next year,” Flavell said.

“We are still working toward that goal and honouring the legacy Talei left behind.”

To Talei With Love – Whānau Fun Ride and Hīkoi
When: August 26, 9.30am
Meeting Point: Kauae Urupa for karakia and briefing
Finishing Point: Village Green (lakefront)
Entry is by gold coin or koha and registrations will be taken by email with limited entries taken on the day – ride4talei@gmail.com

Source: Rotorua Daily Post

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