A project that has improved cervical health outcomes for Māori wahine is one of two joint winners at the Health Hawke's Bay awards.

The project won the Commitment to working together to improve community health and wellbeing award alongside joint winner project Poipoi Mokopuna at the awards on Friday.

The focus is on reaching Māori and Pasifika women who are untested or have not been tested in over five years.

The ongoing project is a collaboration between Hawke's Bay District Health Board's Population Screening team, Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga's mobile nursing team and Choices Kahungunu health services.


Over a four-month period, outreach teams visited 328 homes and phoned 400 women who have not been reached by the current system.

Many of the women had changed addresses or cellphone numbers making it difficult for a GP to reach them.

Barriers women face such as transport, previous poor experience, lack of education and understanding of the issue, feeling culturally unsafe and inflexible GP appointment times are addressed.

Women can have the smear in their own home, at a at a general practice, at a pop-up clinic in their community, or another place of their choosing at a time which suits them.

The initiative has had great feedback from the women it serves. "The women say they feel safe, secure and are able to have a smear taker which gave them time and didn't rush them," said Davis.

"We find our kanohi ki te kanohi approach, enables us to capture the right 'moment in time' with genuine care to meet the needs of the community.

"Taking this health check into their home or into an environment of their choice, gives the individual a sense of control," said Annette Davis the project population screening team leader.

Judges said there was no doubt this project was saving lives by removing cultural and access barriers to screening by using a face-to-face approach.


"To have the recognition for the team and project partners is amazing," said Davis.

The success of the programme saw GP's refer their hard-to-reach patients to the service.