Stories from Bowel Screening Tangata Rongonui | Champions | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

Stories from Bowel Screening Tangata Rongonui | Champions

Watch the personal stories of our Bowel Screening tangata rongonui (champions). 


Tangata rongonui (champions) - Te Tai Tokerau, NZ

Carrying the baton for the National Bowel Screening Programme in Northland is this beautiful team of tangata rongonui (champions) who have come together to support the programme.

This little test could save your life. If diagnosed and treated early, you have a 90% chance of long term survival.

How do you become eligible? Check out the kōrero in this video.


Alana Best - Sign Language Teacher, Whangarei, NZ

If you are part of the deaf community in Te Tai Tokerau, and aged 60 to 74, we hope this information can support you in participating in the National Bowel Screening Programme.

You’ll be invited to do a free bowel screening test every two years; the kit will arrive in the mail around your birthday. If you have any disability, illness, or injury which may prevent you from doing the test or sending in your sample, please call 0800 924 432 to discuss a solution.

If you have hearing difficulties fax 09 484 0202 or email

Watch this video by our tangata rongonui, sign language tutor, Alana Best, for more information.



Peter Naera - Hokianga, NZ 

Local Anglican priest, Peter Naera, lost his wife to bowel cancer, two months after diagnosis.

“The shock of it all for me was that it was so advanced by the time we got on to it. By the time we did the test, it was far too late.

Get an early diagnosis, it's treatable. The amazing thing about this particular programme, it's done in the comfort of your own home. If you really want to enjoy your mokopuna, you need to find out as much as you can about your own wellbeing."

Early detection of bowel cancer can save your life.


Jonny Wilkinson - CEO of Tiaho Trust, Whangarei, NZ

When asked why someone with a disability should do a bowel screening test, Jonny replied "Because we already have enough to deal with. Bowel Screening can pick up early stages of bowel cancer and this can often be easily treated. Doing this easy test at home can save lives, your life."

People from the ages of 60-74 years old will be sent an invitation in the mail over the next two years. Find out more at, call 0800 924 432, or talk to your GP or Māori Health Provider.

Alma Stevens & Hepa Stephens - Kaitaia, NZ

Brother and sister, Hepa and Alma, lost their sister and older brother, Walter, to bowel cancer.

“Walter, like most men, like myself, kept it [the pain] a secret. When he finally couldn’t stand the pain anymore he went to the doctor and was admitted to hospital straight away, with bowel cancer. He was admitted on the Thursday and passed away on the Sunday. “

“Cancer waits for no one. Screening is coming whānau, get yourself checked. The longer you leave it the harder it is to cure.”

“Toku inoi ki a koutou kia uru mai tēnei kaupapa. Na te mea, na tēnei kaupapa mau wawe tēnei mate, tēnei mauiui.”

If you have any concerns don't wait for the kit, talk to your doctor or Māori health provider.


Rex Nathan, Te Uri-o-Hau/Ngati Whatua - Dargaville, NZ

Northland DHB Kaumātua, Reverend Rex Nathan says his Dad, Ōtūrei marae kaumatua, felt lonely as he lost a number of his kaumatua colleagues to cancer.

“Bowel cancer has affected a lot of the marae, particularly the older age group, the Taumata. If we want to live longer then we have to look after our health and bowel cancer is certainly one of those that we could do a lot better. It's really important to get tested so that any cancers are detected and treated early.”


Dr Tamara Birchall - Kawakawa, NZ

“Whanau, if you are aged between the ages of 60-74 you will be invited to participate in the Bowel Screening Programme here in beautiful Te Tai Tokerau.

Over the next two years you will receive a kit in the mail. It’s easy and simple to do in the privacy of your own home. Do the test straight away, don't chuck it out.

Early detection of bowel cancer can save your life.”


Hone Harawira - Kaitaia, NZ

“I did the test because a couple of my mates did it and told me about it. So I said, why not?  We know it’s prevalent amongst older Māori so let’s get it done for our own health. This is the opportunity for you to do something for yourself in the privacy of your own home. If I can, hopefully I can encourage others to do it.

When I got the result I was scared to open it, when I saw it was negative my heart felt a lot better. Look after yourself, look after one another.”



Further information on the programme is available on the Time to Screen website or by phoning the National Bowel Screening Programme on 0800 924 432.



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