Mō Mātou

Te Aho o Te Kahu

The central thread that binds and unites the many strands of cancer control into one cloak, to warm and protect people and their whānau. Te Aho o Te Kahu (the Cancer Control Agency) is the leader in cancer control in Aotearoa.

Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency is a newly established independent departmental agency. It is hosted by the Ministry of Health but reports directly to the Minister of Health. These new arrangements were formalised in December 2019 when Te Aho o Te Kahu was established to better recognise the impact cancer has on the lives of New Zealanders, and provide a sharp focus on this important health issue.

Cancer presents some unique challenges to the health system:

  • The number of people diagnosed with cancer is projected to double in the next two decades.
  • The costs and complexity of care, and pace of change present major challenges for our systems and services.
  • Māori and Pacific people have worse cancer survival rates than other New Zealanders.

Cancer survival is improving in NZ, but our rate of improvement is slower than other comparable countries, so we are at risk of falling behind.

The purpose of the Agency is to provide strong central leadership and oversight of cancer control. It is equity-led, knowledge-driven, person and whānau-centred and outcomes-focused, taking a whole-of-system approach to preventing and managing cancer.

Our Vision - Te kaupapa

We lead and unite efforts to deliver better cancer outcomes for Aotearoa.

Fewer cancers. Kia whakaiti iho te mate pukupuku.

Better survival. Kia runga noa ake te mataora.

Equity for all. Kia taurite ngā huanga.


We are equity led

We strive for equity for all New Zealanders.

We are whānau centred

We put people at the heart of all our work.

We are knowledge driven

We are guided by the best information & insights.

We are outcomes focused

We relentlessly deliver better outcomes for all.

Our name – Te Aho o Te Kahu

On 18 June 2020 at a ceremony hosted at Parliament, Hei Āhuru Mōwai – the Māori Cancer Leadership Group – gifted the Cancer Control Agency with the name Te Aho o Te Kahu. In accepting the name, the Agency upholds its commitment to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its principles and intentions, and to uphold the mana and integrity of the name and its meaning.

Te Aho o Te Kahu means the binding weave of the cloak, and speaks to our role as a connecting and unifying organisation that works with all the many strands relating to cancer control. The cloak represents the whole of the system working together to provide strength, protection and warmth to those affected by cancer.

In this video, Matua Gary Thompson, Deputy Chair of Hei Āhuru Mōwai, discusses the whakapapa of the name Te Aho o Te Kahu and the importance of protecting it.