New Pink Campervan kicks off inaugural tour, taking breast cancer awareness to the regions
Breast Cancer Foundation NZ’s new, state-of-the-art Pink Campervan has embarked on its inaugural tour, taking life-saving breast health education to all regions of Aotearoa New Zealand.
‘Putiputi Ātaahua’, the name gifted to the campervan by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei which means ‘beautiful flower’, kicked off its tour in the Tasman region on 15 October – the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Two breast health nurses are travelling on the campervan, visiting small towns around the South Island throughout October to December to educate Kiwis about breast health. The aim is to take breast cancer awareness to hard-to-reach communities that don’t have access to specialist health services.
The Foundation fundraised for the new vehicle last year, after realising its iconic retro caravan was no longer fit for purpose. The old Pink Caravan spent nearly 10 years on the road delivering the charity’s early detection education programme. It relied on volunteers to tow it around which meant it wasn’t able to travel to all corners of the country.
The new vehicle can be driven by the charity’s nurses. The bright pink floral exterior is eye-catching and boasts a welcoming outdoor community engagement area, including a kid’s corner. The interior is spacious, has enhanced technology capability, and contains two seating areas for private consultations and the ability to make a comforting cup of tea when needed.
Breast Cancer Foundation NZ chief executive, Ah-Leen Rayner, is thrilled by what the charity will be able to achieve with the new campervan: “Early detection of breast cancer is the key to survival. One of the best ways we can save lives from breast cancer is to spread knowledge about the importance of going for mammograms and being breast aware.
“With this new vehicle, our friendly specialist nurses will be able to reach more New Zealanders with these life-saving messages, visiting remote or isolated communities we’ve never been able to get to before.
“We’re excited to be kicking off the campervan’s first tour in Nelson-Tasman and then heading down the West Coast – two regions we’ve not been able to visit for a long time. We want Putiputi Ātaahua to be a place where all women feel welcome to connect with our nurses and walk away feeling empowered to take charge of their breast health.”
Putiputi Ātaahua, or ‘Beautiful Flower’, holds multiple meanings for the vehicle and its purpose. The name represents the flowers wrapped around the campervan’s exterior, as well as the wrap-around support Breast Cancer Foundation’s nurses will offer women and their families. It’s also an endearing term referencing wāhine Māori.
The campervan is spending three weeks in the Nelson-Tasman region, then heading to Buller and down the West Coast until Christmas.
Click here to see when the Pink Campervan will be stopping by a town near you.