Nathan Nukunuku is growing his afro to raise money for CanTeen. Photo: Lauren Wafer-Kiddle.

Hair’s to Nathan


Having lost some of his hair due to cancer treatments, Stoke man Nathan Nukunuku decided he’d rather grow his hair than shave it.
Nathan has decided to grow an afro to raise money for CanTeen and its ‘Shave for a Cure’ fundraiser.
Nathan, and friend Toby Munro, say they are looking forward to getting growing.
“I had a few mates asking me to grow my afro. I just thought I would and then Toby said he wanted to grow his as well. After that we decided we should grow it for charity,” he said.
After only a month of fundraising, Nathan has collected $500 and has been donated a signed Hurricanes jersey, from James Broadhurst to auction off.
His goal is to raise $10,000 for CanTeen – the organisation that supports young people with cancer.
The fundraiser has gained public interest through the Facebook page ‘Grow the Fro 13/14’ with over 170 likes. Other people have also volunteered to be a part of it, with some of Nathan’s other friends offering to grow their hair with Nathan and Toby.
“At the moment there are three other guys. Two guys in Wellington are going to grow theirs. I have another mate here who is just going to grow his hair and facial hair,” says Nathan.
However, as many cancer survivors know, hair does not grow back overnight so this will be a long but “exciting” journey for Nathan and friends. So far, he has grown just over an inch of hair but says when it starts to get longer the process will quicken.
“It’s starting off slow. Last time I grew my afro, once it got longer I could start combing it and then it started to grow quicker,” he says.
Nathan was diagnosed with hodgkin’s lymphoma back in late 2011, after a lump formed on the right side of his neck. After Nathan was diagnosed he spent four weeks in hospital getting chemotherapy. He then spent a further six months getting radiation.
Although Nathan only lost a relatively small amount of hair, he wanted to raise money for friends that have suffered with the same type of cancer in the past. “I had mates that had the same type of cancer as me and lost [all of] their hair.”
Nathan has been in remission since May last year.
To help Nathan with his journey to ‘Grow the Fro,’ a bank account has been set up for donations. The details are: N W NUKUNUKU 12-3141-0360900-50.