Groups team up to minimise UV harm

The Cancer Society and St John are joining forces to protect New Zealanders from sun-related harm this summer.

The charities will implement a range of initiatives aimed at minimising the impact of over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV).

St John head of event health services Debra Larsen said a considerable percentage of minor incidents St John treated at events were sunburn related.

"This collaboration between Hato Hone/St John and The Cancer Society presents an opportunity to communicate to people attending events of all sizes across New Zealand about SunSmart messaging and provide better access to Cancer Society sunscreen," Ms Larsen said.

Event-goers will be able to find free co-branded sun squirt dispensers at some major events Hato Hone St John supports this summer.

"We appreciate the support of the Cancer Society, which will enable Hato Hone St John to go further in reducing sun-related harm in communities across Aotearoa."

"We have already increased access to sunscreen products in our event health services team and will look to launch several initiatives to reduce sun damage as we enter a sizzling New Zealand summer," Ms Larsen said.

While pleased to be able to provide free sunscreen at these events, both organisations are also encouraging people to plan their SunSmart approach before heading to events.

"That means remembering to slip, slop, slap and wrap.

"With ongoing initiatives such as the dispensers that arise from the Hato Hone St John and Cancer Society partnership, the aim is to reduce the effects sun exposure can have on New Zealanders such as skin cancers," Ms Larsen said.

Cancer Society chief executive Lucy Elwood said more could be achieved by working together.

Instances of sunburn in New Zealand are high. In a study conducted by Te Hiringa Hauora (2016), it was found that one in seven adults and one in six teenagers had been sunburnt the previous weekend.

"We believe this close collaboration provides a fantastic opportunity to enhance the work the Cancer Society is currently doing through its advocacy and educational channels with SunSmart by increasing the awareness of SunSmart messaging and decreasing the incidence of sun-related harm at events across New Zealand," Ms Elwood said.

"By being SunSmart, we can all reduce our risk of sun-related harm."