Health Happenings at the Fieldays

Fog on arrival, but a beautiful day followed.

Health Happenings at the Fieldays

By Denise Irvine, Rural Communities Chapter

With numbers at the 2023 Fieldays reaching over 105,000, it was a great opportunity to, once again, expose attendees to the latest developments in health care. Often those in rural areas do not have the opportunity to keep up with current tests and screening, which allow families to stay healthy. Access to all stands was easy, with most exhibitors in the same building, meaning people and their families could drift past the stands and linger at the ones which appealed.

The Hauora Taiwhenua Health and Wellbeing Hub saw 25,000 visitors drop by the 34 health exhibitions. Many of the stands were interactive, spiking interest and intrigue. There was also a wide variety, including Diabetes, Alzheimer’s Society, Help4u: an organization that provides directory information, and Blueprint, which offers mental health workshops.

Three interactive stands which were very popular were: The Melanoma stand, which offered a free skin spot check. A registration form could be downloaded by scanning a QR code while waiting at the stand before a specialized registered nurse could check the lesion. Results were either “everything is fine” or “maybe visit your doctor when you are next in town,” thus helping to reduce that niggle about the spot that one intends to have checked by their GP but doesn’t have the time.

Bowel screening was also an interactive stand! Yes really. How do you make Bowel screening interactive? They had a very large bowel made of a plastic-type material. This exhibit was high enough for people to walk through. Children, in particular, were fascinated by this exhibit, including flicking the polyps hanging from the side of the display.

The third was the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) from Te Whatu Ora – Waikato, which has always been popular. A mannequin was in a place where CPR could be practised under the watchful eye and guidance of an ICU registered nurse. When would one need such a skill you may ask? Anywhere! Any time. Rugby games. Work situations. Social situations. On the farm.



Why did exhibitors attend? The weather was beautiful, but getting up at five o’clock, or earlier if they lived out of town, would have been a challenge. However, chatting to some of them, they said they saw themselves as a worthwhile presence, allowing them access to a wide audience they would never have been exposed to in any other situation worth attending.