National Kaitiaki Group

The National Kaitiaki Group ensures protection of Māori women’s cervical screening data.

Purpose of the National Kaitiaki Group

The Ministry of Health recognises that to be successful for Māori women, the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) must offer screening in ways that Māori women feel are acceptable, accessible, affordable, and culturally-appropriate. The programme must also appropriately promote the benefits of screening for Māori women.

The National Kaitiaki Group was established in 1995 by the Minister of Health under the Health (Cervical Screening (Kaitiaki) Regulations 1995.  The group is appointed by, and accountable to, the Minister of Health.

The National Kaitiaki Group’s considers applications for approval to disclose, use, or publish ‘protected information’, being information that is on or from the NCSP Register and that identifies the woman or women to whom the information relates as being Māori.

The National Kaitiaki Group protects Māori women’s cervical screening data by ensuring that this data is:

  • not used or published inappropriately or in a way that reflects negatively on Māori
  • used to benefit Māori women.

It also provides a way of reassuring Māori women that their data is protected so they continue to participate in the screening programme.

Cervical screening

The NCSP was established to reduce the incidence and mortality rate of cervical cancer by cervical screening which identifies early cervical cell changes that are able to be detected and treated in the early pre-cancerous curable stage.

The National Cervical Screening Programme register

All women’s cervical screening results are forwarded to the NCSP Register, as required under Part 4A of the Health Act 1956 (unless a woman asks not to have her results included).

The register is an important management tool for Programme. It holds:

  • the details of enrolled women (such as their name, address, age and ethnicity)
  • cervical screening results
  • the details of sample takers and their clinics
  • test results from colposcopy services.

This information is essential for quality assurance and for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the Programme. It shows whether or not the programme is improving health outcomes for women. It also provides a back-up recall and management system for women who are enrolled.

For further information about the NCSP and the NCSP Register please go to the National Screening Unit website.

Applications for data

Any person wanting to access, use or disclose Māori women’s cervical screening data on the NCSP Register must first make an application to the National Kaitiaki Group. You can also apply in writing to the NCSP Programme Manager to request data from the Register and will be advised if the request needs to be forwarded to the National Kaitiaki Group.

The National Kaitiaki Group meets as required up to four times a year. Applications for data are required at least three weeks prior to a meeting.

Applications for data from the NCSP Register can be downloaded here:

Criteria for assessing applications

The National Kaitiaki Group has certain criteria for assessing applications to access Māori women’s data. The applicant must show how they will:

  • use the information for the benefit of Māori women
  • address the principle of the sanctity of te whare tangata
  • protect the information in a manner that is culturally appropriate.

These criteria ensure the use of data is consistent with the Kaitiaki Regulations.


In releasing approved data, the National Kaitiaki Group will ensure that such releases protect the confidentiality of Māori women on the NCSP Register. Very small numbers that might identify individual women will be aggregated into bigger groupings.

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