Waikato community raises $25k for NZ Prostate Cancer Foundation
On the field, Wayne 'Buck' Shelford was uncompromising.
He was a key part of the 1987 All Blacks rugby team which won the inaugural Rugby World Cup.
Thirty years on, off the field, Shelford still has that steely resolve but it's not about rugby anymore.
It's about men's health, getting men to talk about their health, in particular detection of prostate cancer.
Shelford was the guest speaker at the Hautapu Rugby Club's Blue Ribbon Day Charity Match and Auction event in the Waikato on Saturday.
The Cambridge-based rugby club commissioned a special rugby strip, by Paladin Sports, for its Senior A team to play in against opponents Fraser Tech at Memorial Park in Cambridge.
People paid a gold coin entry fee as a donation and the special Hautapu rugby jerseys were later auctioned at the clubrooms.
All up the club raised about $25,000 which would go to the New Zealand Prostate Cancer Foundation.
"That's just really awesome," Shelford said at the conclusion of the auction.
"It's really good to see a mixture of people here tonight, but in particular, the number of women.
"When you talk about health to men, it just falls on deaf ears. But when their wives, partners or girlfriends talk about it, it really pushes them to go see their doctor for regular check ups.
"That's what we want to see."
Shelford has been working as a champion for the foundation to encourage men to have a conversation about their health.
He is also a cancer survivor and was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2007.
"I think the message is getting through to the older generation but we need to work more on the younger ones.
"Men know that when they turn 40, they should start going to their doctor for regular check ups. For the ones younger than that, it's about being aware of any changes in their body, and going to the doctor for advice."
Shelford said regular check ups were important because for prostate cancer in particular, the warning signs did not present on the outside.
"It's internal, so it's important to know what's going on inside your body, and if you don't go for a test, you won't know. Once it's inside - you're ka mate - you're gone. You're not going to stop it going right through your body."
Shelford said education in smaller groups could be the key to encouraging men to talk about their health problems.
"A lot of men won't talk when they're in big groups but in smaller forums, they might."
Shelford said improving health across the board was important but he wanted to talk about prostate cancer first because it was the most common cancer in men in New Zealand.
The Blue Ribbon event was organised by club member Phil Herewini who was pleased with the result of the charity game and auction.
Hautapu defeated Fraser Tech 19-17. Most of the players and supporters then attended the auction at 6pm where their jerseys were offered to the highest bidder.
Bidding for most jerseys started about $500. The highest bid made was $1450 for the No.12 jersey.
One jersey was bought, then surrendered to the club so it could be given to Cambridge man Barry Gollan, who was a cancer survivor too.
Gollan's grandson, David Morris, plays for the club's Senior A team.
"We were aware of about five people connected to the club had gone through treatment for prostate cancer so we thought this would be a good event to connect to those people," Herewini said.
He agreed with Shelford when it came to encouraging more young men to talk about their health.
"We think we're on top of that with our youth at the club.
"During the week, the captain of our senior team talked a lot to the other players about why we were running this charity day and why it was important, to them and their own families.
"I'm just happy with the way the club has come together, the players and the community of Cambridge, to support an event like this."
Herewini said the club would talk about making the event something it could hold every couple of years.