Poukai at Whatapaka marae

This week I was honoured to attend a Poukai at Whatapaka marae in Karaka as part of the Middlemore Tissue Bank (MTB) delegation.  The Poukai is an annual series of visits by the Māori king, Kingi Tuheitia, to Kīngitanga marae around and beyond the Waikato region.  I was fascinated to learn that this tradition dates back to the 19th century.

The Leukaemia & Blood Foundation is a sponsor partner of the MTB, which has a really big job on its hands working to establish a comprehensive store of cancer tumour tissue for use in research.

We could not have been made more welcome by all and it was fantastic that representatives from the MTB had an opportunity to speak about their service at the Poukai as is really so important that Māori are encouraged and supported to donate tissue bio-specimens for research. This will enable researches to investigate the effects of current and potential new cancer therapies in Māori and Pacific peoples, of which we know very little about at the moment.

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