One year ago, kapa haka queen Talei Morrison was diagnosed with cancer and bravely fronted a campaign, Smear Your Mea, encouraging women to have regular checks for cervical cancer.

Although she died two months ago, her message still resonates.

A disproportionate number of Māori women die of cervical cancer every year.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health,167 women in New Zealand die from cervical cancer each year, 60 of them are of Māori descent.

90% of the patients at Te Hā Oranga in Helensville are Māori.

Charlene Epiha from Ngāpuhi was smeared at the clinic yesterday and said she had to overcome shyness.

"The ultimate feeling that wahine Māori feel is shy but as soon as you walk through that door it's all good."

She says she has a message for other Māori women.

"It's a necessity to take care of your tinana, yourself and get these things checked out. 

"Do it for yourself and family and children."

Smear Your Mea week was launched on Sunday in memory of the late haka matriarch Talei Morisson.

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