You might be wondering how you even begin to tell your taitamaiti (child) or tamariki (children) you have mate pukupuku (cancer) – it’s such a big, life-changing thing.


This guide is a starting point for having this conversation. It’ll help you understand how to talk sensitively and honestly about your mate pukupuku diagnosis with your tamariki, which can provide some much needed reassurance during this unsettling time.
Although this guide focuses on when a parent has mate pukupuku, it can be used by anyone who needs to explain a mate pukupuku diagnosis to tamariki or mātātahi (young people).

DOWNLOAD our free guide


In our guide you’ll find tips to help you talk honestly and openly about mate pukupuku with your taitamaiti or tamariki through all stages of your journey – from telling them about your diagnosis to engaging activities to help them understand more about mate pukupuku.


This isn’t intended to replace professional help and support when needed. If you feel you and your tamariki may need help from a professional, please reach out to Kenzie’s Gift.


This guide is a digital version - if you need a print ready file for sending to your printers, please contact us.


Download FREE guide


Teen Diary


Listen to our webinar

As well as downloading our guide, listen to our webinar - talking with kids about cancer.

Parenting through cancer can be tough. The word 'cancer' tends to evoke feelings of fear and anxiety, and as parents, we often want to protect our children from the tough stuff that happens in life. One way we sometimes do this is by not talking and sharing with them what is happening. But children, and even young children, can often sense when something is up. So, what do you say to the kids about cancer and how much do you share?

In this webinar, Nic Russell, the founder of Kenzie's Gift who parented through cancer, chats with psychologist Dr Bernice Gabriel about talking to our kids about cancer.

Listen to Webinar


 Where to go for support


Talking to your tamariki about mate pukupuku can feel scary but please remember you’re not alone. There’s a lot of support out there to help you have these big conversations. They can also help you if you’re worried about how yourtamariki are coping and their behaviour



Health professionals who can help

If you’re worried about your child’s behaviour, reach out for help from healthcare professionals, including:

  • Your family doctor.
  • Your nurse at the treatment centre.
  • Psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists – talk to your doctor about whether your taitamaiti could benefit from these specialist services, which might be funded or need to be paid for privately.
  • Kenzie’s Gift – our services are free and are designed to improve the emotional well-being and good mental health of tamariki, mātātahi and families affected by mate pukupuku, serious illness or bereavement. Get in touch.

Other support organisations

There are a lot of support organisations for families experiencing mate pukupuku.

These include: