Kia ora tamara, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Kia ora, I'm Tamara! I'm based in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara and grew up in the beautiful Hawkes Bay. I'm the Chief Visionary Officer at BloomHQ, a people and employee focused business that I started in 2021 with my co-founder Nik. I love supporting workplaces to create an environment for their people to thrive and finding innovative and bold ways of doing this. I'm very passionate about mental health and created The Wellbeing Deck with Riders & Elephants to help foster bold, empathetic and accessible conversations about mental health in workplaces, homes and communities.
Outside of work, I'm a big Dungeons and Dragons nerd and I am also a druid in training.
What does the word Dignity mean to you?
Dignity for me means the act of respecting and loving yourself first and foremost so that then you can also uphold respect and love for others too. Dignity is something we're all wanting, to feel as though we matter and are valued, and one of the best ways to foster that feeling is to start by looking internally at our own self-worth and self love and let it radiate out in our interactions with others.
What was a meaningful experience relating to your period growing up?
Not one particular experience but my overwhelming feeling of having my period when I was younger and experiencing it for the first time alongside my friends was just the pure shame we collectively felt about it. We didn't talk about it, no-one else talked to us about it and we each individually struggled with it every time. We each went through some pretty horrible or embarrassing experiences that only happened because we just felt so shame to talk about it and that honestly makes me so sad on reflection.
What makes you feel empowered/comfortable in your skin?
When I'm truly able to be myself in any particular environment. I feel so empowered when I'm able to be silly, or speak with lots of passion on a favourite subject, or sing out loud in my workplace - all of these things help me remember how much I have to offer when I can just be me. I think being around others who are also authentically living in their own skin gives me so much permission to be comfy in my own too.
What would you like to say to anyone navigating their first period?
Find a couple of great allies either in your friend or family group who you can talk to at any time about your experience or ask any questions you have. Being able to safely ask questions (even if they feel small or silly) is so incredibly important because you shouldn't have to struggle alone and they can help you or validate what you're going through. It also means that if you're ever concerned about symptoms or something doesn't feel quite right, they can support you to get some professional help which can be super important.
How would you like to see the current status quo around access and period products and period equity in Aotearoa change?
I love what Dignity has started and I think that's a hugely positive step in the right direction. I believe all period products should be free to anyone who needs them. It's not a luxury, it's not a nice-to-have, it's a necessity that a large proportion of the population needs on a regular basis. Nobody should have to make a choice of whether to afford food or afford period products and nobody should be making decisions that put their health at risk because of not being able to afford the products they need for a natural process they experience.
Thank you Dignity for all that you do - you're making an incredible difference to so many people!
You can find our more about Tamara at BloomHQ