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Shearing Wellness Day

February 21, 2013


Shearing Wellness Day

Rural Canterbury PHO joined forces with a Rolleston Shearing company last week to bring health to the people.

Pullin Shearing hosted a health education day at its Rolleston headquarters for employees as a way to create awareness around the health issues most likely to affect them in their lifetime.

About 70 people attended the Shearing Wellness Day, which included workshops on six topics: becoming smokefree; diabetes prevention; sexual health; diet and nutrition; how to look after your feet; and how to care for your back.

Staff were split into groups of three with each rotating around the six 30 minute workshops.

Barry Pullin, Managing Director of Pullin Shearing, said many shearers do not always pay attention to potential health risks associated with the industry and the lifestyle it brings.

“We are in a physical environment. Shearers, shedhands and pressers need to be aware of what healthy wellness is and how to maintain it,” Barry said.

“From when and what to eat right through to looking after your feet – it all adds up. Feet are totally forgotten but they are the platform you stand on. Things such as nails, heels, tinea, foot flexibility and strength are so important in woolsheds.”

Barry said there were great gains to be had from having a happy and healthy workforce and Pullin Shearing prides itself on taking a holistic approach to ensuring that.

“A healthy workforce is an investment in your business,” He said.

Wayne Smith, RCPHO Maori Health Manager and Shearing Wellness Day co-organiser, said it was an extremely successful event.
It’s great to see all the representatives from across the Canterbury Health System represented and all working together,” Wayne said.

“A big thanks to all those involved, particularly Barry from Pullin Shearing and Ramai Lord from Pegasus /Partnership Health – who both put a lot into the day.”

Workshop speakers were: Jason Longworth, Physiotherapist; Jo Stewart, Pegasus Health Community Dietitian; Lynore Weeks, CDHB Community and Public Health ABC Smoke Free Educator; Debbie Rawiri and Maureen Reason, CDHB Maori Health Diabetes Nurse Specialists; Nick Hayley, Podiatrist; and Tiria Stuart and Lyn Familton, CDHB Sexual Health Clinic health promoters.

During the lunch break shearers could have their blood glucose and blood pressure checked, and provide a urine sample to the Sexual Health Clinic health promoters to send to the laboratory to check for any sexually transmitted infections. There were also representatives from the Cancer Society, Problem Gambling, and Maori Health and Social Services provider He Waka Tapu, on hand with information and to answer questions.

Former Golden Shears title holder and Kaikoura MP Colin King was a keynote speaker and was well received.

Mr King said having the health day on the shearers’ “own turf” meant they were probably far more engaged than they would have been otherwise.

“It’s good to see young men and women thinking about their health. Prevention is always better than cure. Congratulations RCPHO for the initiative and to Pullin Shearing,” Mr King said.

“This is something that needs to be done annually and is in line with the Government’s goal of better, sooner, more convenient health care.”

Bill Eschenbach, RCPHO Chief Executive, said the PHO has been approached by a number of other rural businesses to replicate the Wellness Day including four shearing gangs in the Hurunui, a fencing contractor and a trucking firm.

“It’s great to see other employers in the region keen to hold these wellness days for their staff and help benefit the health of our communities,” Bill said.

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