New Zealand Flag Debate


Four years ago, two women I know were faced with breast cancer. One, Minka, has lost her fight and the other, Anna, has faced the surgery and chemo that kept her alive.

Minka came into my life a stunning, tall, smiling goddess. Full of the new life a younger generation has in abundance, she was 18, I was 30.  We hit it off, as creatives and party goers. She and I would walk Auckland city night, looking for trouble and fun. Occasionally on Saturday mornings, we’d turn up at the old Ponsonby snooker hall to swap stories about one another’s adventures, and our philosophical outlooks.  Minka was a rebel and creative at heart. I helped her into theatre by way of stage work with Inside Out Theatre and then encouraged her to find her way to photographic school. She was a mum and living a life on Waiheke when she died at forty. It was a strange feeling, driving to her funeral along K road and seeing the old buildings we had once known well, still there, as if nothing had happened. I felt like I would be dead one day and those buildings would still be there.. but I was shocked that I hadn’t gone before Minka. Her smile was extinguished by a sickness that caught in time could have been successfully treated.

Anna, another rebel, philosopher, writer and artist rang me a couple of years ago. She was diagnosed at a similar time to Minka but had survived the fight, one she still leans into. Anna knew I sailed, and wanted to talk about how she could put the sea into her new life as an expression of living and beating the odds. I have enjoyed the last two years helping take her through a transition from land lubber to sailor. Her huge smile beaming from the speeding beach catamaran she now has sound control of, was like sunshine, such joy being experienced by someone who could easily have been gone.

Both of these women were capable of changing the lives of many, not just their immediate family. Only one remains to do so and she has been changed forever. Every May I will pay out 20% of purchase price, of this new pink version of Miss Kiwiana to the Breast Cancer foundation as recognition of the courage and fight these two women faced and so many more must face now and in the future. This year, the Miss Kiwiana Breast Cancer Fundraiser will run right through to the end of June 2013.


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