Bowel Screening

Free bowel screening is now available for Tairāwhiti men and women aged 60-74 years of age.

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer or colon cancer, is any cancer that affects the colon (large bowel) and rectum (back passage).

Over the next two years, 9,500 people in Tairāwhiti will be invited to do the screening test. Read more about bowel screening in Tairāwhiti



You do not need to register to participate in the screening programme.

If you are 60-74 years, eligible to receive public healthcare, and are not currently receiving treatment or surveillance for bowel cancer, you will receive the test in the mail or through your iwi health provider. 

Please check that your address and phone contact details are up to date with your GP Practice so you don't miss out.



In the same month as your birthday over the next two years.

If your birthday falls on an even day (eg: 2, 4, or 6 November) you will receive your test in the mail before September 2021.

If your birthday falls on an odd day (eg: 1, 3, or 5 November) you will receive your test in the mail between September 2021 and September 2022.



Bowel screening can save lives by helping find cancer at an early stage. When identified early bowel cancer – which kills 1200 Kiwis every year – is treatable. Each year it is estimated that the screening test will identify around 70 Tairāwhiti people who will need further investigation.

People who are diagnosed with early-stage bowel cancer, and who receive treatment early, have a 90% chance of long term survival.

Bowel screening every two years can help save lives. A positive test can lead to a colonoscopy which may find and remove pre-cancerous polyps or detect bowel cancer at an early stage when it can often be successfully treated.

Screening is free for those who are eligible, as are any follow-up tests or treatment.



Testing is done at home using a bowel screening test kit received through the mail.  The kit is quick, easy and simple to do by yourself at home and is returned by post.

Watch Meng Foon describe how to do the bowel screening test  


Please note: If you do have unusual bowel symptoms, don’t wait to be screened. Screening is for people who have no symptoms of bowel cancer. People of any age with unusual bowel symptoms should contact their doctor immediately.  

11th DHB to join the screening programme

Hauora Tairāwhiti is the eleventh DHB to join New Zealand’s newest cancer screening programme and the first to use a custom-built IT system that will manage and monitor a person’s screening journey from start to finish. Read more

Tairāwhiti Bowel screening champions

Thanks to the brave Tairawhiti people who have shared their stories to encourage others to do the screening test.

  • Roger Faber Talks about his journey with bowel cancer

Dwayne-Tamatea-reflects-on-his-family-history-of-bowel-cancer.mp4 Dwayne-Tamatea-reflects-on-his-family-history-of-bowel-cancer2.mp4


More information

  • About the national screening programme The National Bowel Screening Programme is being progressively rolled out throughout New Zealand. Read more
  • About bowel cancer Bowel cancer is a malignant growth that develops inside the bowel. It is also called colon, rectal or colorectal cancer. Read more
  • Why regular bowel screening is important New Zealand has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world. Regular bowel screening every two years can help detect cancer at an early stage, when it can be more successfully treated. Read more
  • About the bowel screening test The free bowel screening test is simple, clean and fast to do. You do it by yourself at home. Read more
  • Your bowel screening test result You will receive a letter with your results and information about what this means for you. You may also receive a call from your doctor or a nurse.  Read more
  • Information on bowel screening in other languages How to access information on bowel screening in te reo Māori, Cook Island Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Niuean, Hindi, Chinese and Korean.  Read more

To talk to someone about the bowel screening programme call Freephone 0800 924 432.

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