New Zealand – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and for its commemoration, the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ has partnered with the youth poets of Māori, the indigenous group of New Zealand, to share a message of body positivity.

The poet group Ngā Hinepūkōrero tackles a barrier to mammograms that are not often discussed – body shame and embarrassment.

In partnership with creative agency Colenso BBDO, the campaign centers around the poem ‘Ahi Kā’ performed by the group which is a protest poem that calls on women to love their bodies the same way New Zealand’s first women did.

With embarrassment often cited as a reason women avoid mammograms, and Māori women among the most at risk but least screened for breast cancer, the campaign seeks an important role to play.

Ngā Hinepūkōrero shared that they are thrilled to be part of a national campaign that encourages women to honor their whakapapa by loving their breasts and getting a mammogram.

Whakapapa is a fundamental principle in Māori culture, where reciting their whakapapa meant proclaiming their Māori identity, and recognizes one’s connection to a wider context and to land.

“The way wāhine Māori feel about our bodies has changed throughout generations. From our ancestors’ respect for their bodies, to our grandmothers’ feelings of shame and unacceptance, to the current generation’s reclamation of te ao Māori attitudes towards the body, and the love that comes from that,” the group said.

The message “Honor your whakapapa by loving your breasts. Get a mammogram.” is shared through print and film featuring breast cancer survivors. The poem has been brought to life through illustrations by designer Atarangi Anderson and animation by creative studio Creature Post.

The campaign launched 3 October with a 30” film and has rolled out across TV, OOH, and online.