Lorraine Staunton350

Nelson Marlborough Health’s He Huarahi Matepukupuku project, completed in June 2018, aimed to improve access to cancer services and improve cancer outcomes for Maori people.

The cancer outcomes for Māori are clear: Māori are 28 per cent more likely to get cancer and 71 per cent more likely to die from it than non-Māori.

In the Nelson Marlborough region prostate cancer affects Māori men the most, and for Māori women it is breast cancer.

Funded by the Ministry of Health, the main goals of the project were to improve:

  • health professionals’ cultural competency 
  • the cultural appropriateness of health services 
  • health literacy within the Māori community by increasing awareness of cancer signs and symptoms and by increasing understanding of the cancer treatment pathways and processes.

Some of the project achievements include:

  • The production of the Cancer Korero booklet
  • Community hui and education workshops. Videos from some of these are available on this page.


Video: Project leader Lorraine Staunton talks about how education is the key to helping improve access to cancer services and cancer outcomes for Māori.



 Video: Māori health researcher and epidemiologist Dr Jason Gurney speaks about cancer inequities for Māori.



Video link: Northland GP Dr Lance O’Sullivan speaks about cultural competency (click link to view)

Andy Joseph350Andy's story

An invitation to attend a community hui led Nelson Marlborough Health Kaumātua, Archdeacon Andy Joseph, to his own diagnosis.

Andy arrived early, picked up a Cancer Kōrero booklet and as he read through a checklist of symptoms associated with prostate cancer tears welled up in his eyes. He realised he’d experienced them all in the past year.

“I broke down, I just couldn’t believe it was happening to me.”

The next day Andy saw his doctor; he was referred to a specialist who later diagnosed prostate cancer.

If he hadn’t picked up the booklet Andy says the cancer could have remained undetected.

His advice to men is to take responsibility, know the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer and visit the doctor to get checked out.

“Forget about the bravado... Ko e whakama - don’t be shy.”

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