Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency, is a departmental agency reporting directly to the Minister of Health and hosted by the Ministry of Health. The Agency was created in recognition of the impact cancer has on the lives of New Zealanders and provides strong central leadership and oversight of cancer control. The Agency leads and unites efforts to deliver better cancer outcomes for Aotearoa New Zealand and is accountable for ensuring transparency of progress towards the goals and outcomes in the National Cancer Action Plan.
The name Te Aho o Te Kahu means the central thread (te aho) of the cloak (te kahu) and refers to the role the Agency plays in uniting and aligning all the service providers, organisations and people across the cancer continuum who wrap around whānau with cancer in a protective cloak. The name was gifted by Hei Āhuru Mōwai, the Māori Cancer Leadership Network. Te Aho o Te Kahu strives for fewer cancers, better survival and equity for all, and is driven to achieve a work programme that is equity-led, knowledge-driven, outcomes-focused and whānau-centred. The goal of achieving equity is embedded in all Te Aho o Te Kahu structures, processes and projects.
In practice leadership and oversight is delivered through:
- providing advice to Government, Ministry of Health, Health New Zealand and Māori Health Authority about the future design and function of cancer services and options for resolving operational issues
- bringing stakeholders together to progress and achieve shared objectives
- undertaking national initiatives to improve cancer outcomes for New Zealanders
- assembling and disseminating cancer data and information to inform decision-making and service delivery
- providing support for cancer service providers when service is, or is likely to be, disrupted or is not meeting demand or expectations.