Health groups pleased with information day turnout

Locals keen for advice and check-ups

Shauni James





It was a hive of activity, important conversations and queues at the Rotorua Library last Wednesday as people gathered to get health advice and check-ups. The library hosted Rā Hauora in Jean Batten Square — a day to raise awareness about health and wellbeing. The Heart Foundation had a stand displaying information, could offer advice, and did simple heart checks. Diabetes NZ was there doing diabetes risk assessments for those interested, and providing practical advice about healthy living. Melanoma NZ was also there with a van parked up in the library entrance doing “spot” testing. Bowel Cancer NZ had an information display. Melanoma NZ saw 78 people in the four hours it spent at Te Aka Mauri, with a long line often featured in front of the van. Karen Reed, Diabetes NZ Lakes and BOP district manager, says it is always important for the organisation to get itself out into the community, and that events like this helped them to raise awareness of the local branch and diabetes itself. She was doing risk assessments with those who stopped by the stand, taking people through a range of questions, which then gave a score showing if they had a low or greater risk of developing diabetes. “There was certainly interest, and lots of people out there that have diabetes don’t know about us and what we do.” Heart health advocate with Heart Foundation Rotorua branch, Fraser Heron, says the foundation has a campaign running called Every Beat Tells A Story, and this event was a great way to help promote this to the community. This campaign shares how our pulse can tell us a lot about our heart. The foundation is encouraging people to learn how to take their pulse to check for an irregular heartbeat, as doing these checks can reduce your risk of having a stroke or heart failure. Fraser talked with 38 people during the day, doing heart checks and teaching them how to take their pulse/check their heartbeat. He says there were a lot of import ant conversations around heart health and the foundation. Events that help to bring a range of health organisations to the fore are great for the community, he says. “At the moment especially with Covid still continuing to disrupt everything, these things are on the back burner. It is great for people to engage and get different aspects of their health checked. “I think it’s vital to have these organisations available and getting out there.” Sue Heke, Rotorua Library adult learning, programmes and promotions co-ordinator, says providing access to health information was the motivation for arranging the Rā Hauora, and that everyone was happy with the engagement, especially as it had been arranged relatively quickly. She says the organisations involved are all keen to do it again later in the year, and that the Jean Batten Square outside the library was an ideal, central location for this type of drop-in event. If any other organisations would like to take part at a future Rā Hauora — Health & Wellbeing Day, they can contact the library.