The Cancer Society has joined forces with four Maori health providers in Northland to reduce the region's cancer mortality rate, currently the highest in the country.

The Society's Auckland-Northland Division has created roles for three extra cancer support nurse specialists, and two more community support workers, through Te Hiku Hauora (Kaitaia and the very Far North), Ki a Ora Ngatiwai (Whangarei and the wider Ngatiwai rohe), Te Hau Ora o Ngapuhi (Kaikohe and the Mid North), and Te Ha Oranga o Ngati Whatua (Kaipara).

Cancer Society Northland manager Jenni Moore said the new services would be available to anyone in Northland, Maori and non-Maori, who had been diagnosed with cancer.

"Northland has the highest cancer mortality rate of any region in New Zealand, and we know cancer identification, treatment and care outcomes are worse for Maori and those living in largely rural areas, such as Northland," she said.


"These partnerships will allow us to triple the level of support we currently offer in Northland, from six to 18 full-time equivalent days per week, and we anticipate they will mean more cancers being detected and treated earlier, and ultimately, fewer Northlanders dying from cancer.

"We encourage anyone with a cancer diagnosis, or their whanau, to find out more about the services we offer, which include accommodation at Domain Lodge in Auckland while they are being treated."

Te Hiku Hauora mobile nursing manager Angela Keung-Hobson said her organisation was excited to be offering much-needed services with the Cancer Society. Ki a Ora Ngatiwai Health Services CEO Lynette Stewart described the initiative as innovative and forward thinking, and providing a platform to address cancer statistics and poor health outcomes for Maori in Te Tai Tokerau.

"The strategy aims to reduce the barriers for Maori accessing health care, and in particular provides psycho-social support during a cancer diagnosis, which fully engages Maori and all clients in their own health journey," she said.

Cancer Society Auckland-Northland CEO John Loof said the partnerships represented a new approach for the society, its first regionwide partnership with Maori health providers, and the biggest increase in funding to Northland in years.

"Thanks to the generous support of donors and tireless efforts of our fundraisers, we're now able to direct more funding to Northland to try to put a dent in its high cancer mortality rate," he said. "The Cancer Society receives no government funding, and we ask people to dig deep and help us help those with cancer when they see our collectors on Daffodil Day (tomorrow).