BreastScreen Aotearoa mobile unit designed to resonate with Māori

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - 11:24

The Auckland DHB region has an eye-catching new mobile unit designed to resonate with the community.

The BreastScreen Aotearoa mobile unit, designed by Bridgette Keil, Ngāti Tamaterā and features Papatūānuku. In te ao Māori, Papatūānuku is the earth mother and the design was chosen to resonate with wāhine Māori.

The new mobile unit is a collaborative approach between Auckland and Waitematā DHBs.

Dr Debbie Holdsworth, Director Funding for Auckland and Waitematā DHBs, says reaching women who may not be able to access the static clinic in Greenlane is important.

“It’s imperative to us that we reach women right across the Auckland DHB catchment, particularly Māori and Pasifika women.

“We know that Māori and Pasifika women have a significantly higher breast cancer registration rate than non-Māori and non-Pasifika women. For that reason we are prioritising those women, as well as those who are overdue for screening.”

The service will make breast screening more accessible for the 70,820 women who are aged between 45 and 69 in the Auckland DHB catchment.

The DHB project team took feedback from wāhine to develop an exterior imagery for the unit that resonates with them. The inspiration for designer Bridgette Keil, Ngāti Tamaterā, was the connection with the Papatūānuku.

“Papatūānuku in te ao Māori is the earth mother; the connection between the physical and the spiritual, representing sustenance, strength and unit, Keil says.

“Having Papatūānuku depicted within the design, creates an immediate sense of care and aroha. It is a safe and private space where you will be treated with manaaki and respect.

 “If you’re a woman aged 45 to 69, especially Māori, we encourage you to take advantage of the new mobile unit, but more importantly have a mammogram every two years to ensure that any changes are picked up early.”

Watch this interview with the Bridgette Keil on Māori Television.

The official blessing of the new mobile breast screening unit for BreastScreen Auckland was held at 10am on Tuesday 3 August at Kia Ū Ora*, Greenlane.

Around 270,000 women access free screening through BreastScreen Aotearoa nationally each year.  Eight providers are contracted to provide BreastScreen Aotearoa services in New Zealand.

Design concept

Including Papatūānuku, as the centre of the mural design was meant to resonate with wāhine Māori.

In te ao Māori, Papatūānuku is the earth mother, giving birth to our whenua and humankind. She is the connection between the physical and spiritual and identity as wāhine Māori.

Her presence within the design creates an immediate sense of care, aroha, humility and strength. She is the kaitiaki encouraging wāhine to get screened, and to show that the unit is a safe and private space, where you will be treated with manaaki and respect.

Also portrayed within the design is Rangitoto, which is fitting for the rohe (region) this unit serves. Papatūānuku is shown watching over the whenua with a Huia and Tuatara perched on her shoulders which enhance her mana, her age and presence.


Page last updated: 14 September 2021