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MEDIA STATEMENT - Miraka named as sponsor of National Cervical Cancer Screening Campaign

Thursday, 12 January 2023

Taupō based, Māori owned low-carbon dairy processing company, Miraka, has been named as the key sponsor of the 2023 ‘Smear your Mea’ campaign which raises awareness about cervical (and prostate) cancer, including early screening to detect and treat cancer in wāhine (women) and tāne (men).

Miraka CEO, Karl Gradon, said that “as a values-based, whānau orientated organsiation, the strategic goals of the Smear your Mea Trust are a good fit with our social and community objectives.”

“We’re delighted to once again have the opportunity to support the mahi (work) of the Smear your Mea Trust – which strives to protect the hauora (health) of current and future generations.”

Smear your Mea Trustee, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell, said the ‘centre piece’ of the Trust’s 2023 campaign is a group of 17 cyclists who will ride from Wellington to Auckland between 14 to 21 February to arrive in time for the start of the national kapa haka festival, Te Matatini 2023.

“The world’s largest kapa haka festival, Te Matatini, is being held at Eden Park between 21 to 25 February for the first time, following a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The Smear your Mea Trust was established as a legacy and in memory of the late Talei Morrison - a young mother, teacher and a well-respected Māori performing arts exponent. Talei passed away in 2018 from cervical cancer,” said Mr Flavell.

Karl Gradon added “When the cyclists ride into Tūrangi, and then Taupō on 17 February, Miraka will provide extra support beyond our financial sponsorship. We’ll help raise local awareness about cervical cancer and the importance of early screening.”

“Miraka has one of the world’s lowest manufacturing carbon-footprints, emitting 92% less carbon into the atmosphere compared to coal fired plants. That is equivalent to taking 7,000 cars off New Zealand roads for one year.”

“The fact the Trust volunteers are cycling from Wellington to Auckland is a good match for our low-carbon manufacturing status,” said Mr Gradon.

Miraka will organise two (2) community events in Taupō (Friday, 17 February) and the following day, Saturday 18 February in Tokoroa as the cyclists ride enroute to Auckland.

The cycling group will be accompanied by a support crew and a mobile testing clinic which people can avail themselves to and take a screening test during stops in towns on the cycling route from Wellington.

Miraka Chairman, Kingi Smiler added his support - “Miraka is an international business established, funded and operated by a workforce which includes a large number of wāhine.”

“Cervical cancer remains one of the most common forms of cancer, particularly among our wāhine Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

“I am pleased that Miraka is doing our bit as a values and socially focussed enterprise to support initiatives like this which are for the greater benefit of the community and indeed the nation,” said Mr Smiler.

TVNZ One News once described the work of the Smear your Mea Trust as ‘one of the most successful Māori health campaigns ever’.




Te Mahau Kingi – Communications Manager


Mobile: +64 21 236 9115


Keanu Flavell


Mobile: +64 21 169 2435 Facebook: @SmearYourMea



Miraka is New Zealand’s first Māori-owned milk processing company and the world’s first to be powered by renewable ‘green’ geothermal energy. Miraka is the Māori word for milk.

Established in 2010 and founded upon a Te Ao Māori (Māori world view) - kaitiakitanga is a core value of the business; caring for the land, natural environment and people.

Miraka has a low-carbon manufacturing footprint of 92% less carbon emissions than other traditional coal-powered factories.

The emission savings is equivalent to taking 7,000 cars off New Zealand roads for one year.

The Miraka dairy plant at Mokai, 30km northwest of Taupō, is one of only two in the world powered by geothermal energy and processes 300 million litres of milk annually.

Miraka is one of New Zealand’s largest Māori export businesses, sending NZD $300 million of premium whole milk powder, UHT milk, frozen cream and milk concentrate and customised milk powders to more than 17 countries around the world.

Miraka has 100 farmer suppliers within a 100km radius of the factory. Farmers become part of Te Ara Miraka, the company’s world-class on-farm excellence programme which embraces care for the land, animals and best on-farm practices.

Miraka incentivises its dairy farmers through a combination of loyalty and premium payments of up to 20 cents per kg MS. Miraka is one of the largest employers in the Taupō region with almost 150 staff from 13 different nationalities.


The Smear your Mea Trust, which operates out of Rotorua, was established as a legacy, and in memory of the late Talei Morrison of Rotorua who passed away in 2018 from cervical cancer.

Talei was a young Rotorua based mother, teacher and a well-regarded Māori performing arts expontent.

Talei used social media to talk about her cervical cancer journey, encouraging wāhine (and men) to be screened early for the illness. Cervical cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer amoung wāhine Māori, in particular.

In memory of Talei, an inaugural group of ten cyclists rode from Rotorua to Wellington in February 2019 to promote the objectives of the Trust which include raising awareness about cervical (and prostate) cancer and screening.

The 2023 campaign will involve a group of cyclists riding from Wellington to Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland in February 2023 to arrive in time for the start of the 2023 Te Matatini national kapa haka competition being held at Eden Park.


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