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Magic Miles for Project Promise - cancer survivor has valuable story to tell

Kaupapa: Promoting cancer awareness and living with hope, health and wellness!

Apikaira Tiatoa (aka Theodore) is a 65-year-old Māori woman from Waimate North in Northland.  For over 50 years, Apikaira has lived with and survived cancer.

A member of Whangarei Hatea Lions Club, she has chosen to walk right around Northland telling her story while raising funds for Project Promise. Lions of Northland along with the Northland District Health Board  (where she works) are her chief supporters.

Since her first brush with cancer she has given a lot of care and attention to what she eats, what she drinks, and maintaining good body strength and fitness and has been well supported by her family, extended whanau and wider community.

Apikaira was born at Waimate North in June 1947, one of 14 siblings.  She herself has three children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.  She attended Waimate North Primary School and Northland College and has continued her learning in the field of community health.    Apikaira is endowed with a strong sense of self determination and purpose thanks to her parents, Pita Tiatoa (Parawhenua Marae) and Apinihi Napia (Tauwhara Marae) who have instilled strong cultural beliefs, values and practices into her upbringing.  Her resourcefulness and stoic dedication to service of her whanau and community exudes in boundless supply.

Since her first incidence of cancer 50 years ago, she has enjoyed wonderful fellowship as a volunteer with many community organisations including the Returned Servicemen’s Association (RSA), Lions, the Cancer Society, community health.

In 2011, after surviving another bout of cancer, Apikaira made a decision to bring better awareness of cancer to Northland communities in an effort to raise funds for the new Cancer Centre in Whangarei (supported by Project Promise). Her plan is to walk the entire Northland District sharing her experiences and stories of how to hold onto hope and live with health and wellness.

She hopes that many people will join her and support her cause.  She will be stopping at various communities throughout Northland to meet with school groups, community groups, parents and older people to share her experiences including her handy hints and tips.

Her walk finishes on May 20 at the Whangarei Town Basin via the Kawakawa community.

Follow the progress of Mrs Theodore's Magic Miles on Facebook via "Api Tiatoa" and twitter@apismagicmiles.

Project Promise is the brainchild of the Northland Community Foundation, which aims to raise $3 million to build the new unit. The unit will make life easier for many Northland cancer patients and their families, although some will still have to travel to Auckland for some treatments, including radiotherapy.

Handy Hints and Tips – Apikaira’s Recipe for Hope, Health & Wellbeing

1: Maintaining good nutrition (daily)

  • Vegetables (all seasonable vegetables used in salads; stir fried and steamed vegetables, raw vegetables and raw coconut, puha and watercress)
  • Fruit (all seasonal fruit)
  • All seafood
  • Organic chicken
  • Minimal saturated fats

2: Maintaining good hydration (daily)

  • Water
  • Green Tea
  • Fruit and/or vegetable juices (pulses and smoothies made with wheatgrass)

3: Maintaining good levels of activity and fitness

  • Walking regularly (at least 30 minutes daily)
  • Collecting seafood
  • Gardening

4: Maintaining cultural practices, social and spiritual activities with your whanau and wider community

  • Purposefully maintaining a positive frame of mind taking each day as it comes and addressing issues as they arise
  • Regular get togethers with family and extended family
  • Visiting relatives throughout the district
  • Staying in touch with my parents Marae communities – attending hui
  • Getting involved with community organisations such as the RSA, the Lions club and community activities
  • Getting up to speed with technology (cell phones and skype)




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