Oranga TūImage by: Movember
13 October 2021

The documentary shining a light on prostate cancer care for Māori men

2 minutes read time

Māori men diagnosed with prostate cancer experience significantly poorer survival rates than non‐Māori. Despite improvements in survival for men diagnosed after 2000, the survival gap between Māori and non‐Māori men has not reduced*.

This documentary provides insight into a ground-breaking research project, funded by Movember, to investigate and address the discrepancy. The project is called Oranga Tū.

Oranga Tū

If health care is not delivered in a meaningful and culturally-sensitive way it often leads to disengagement. Oranga Tū is a Kaupapa Māori (co-design) project with Māori communities involving tāne (men) with prostate cancer, whānau (family), Māori health providers, specialists and researchers.

Over four years, the project has investigated the access to and delivery of health care and support services, which in most cases are not supportive or inclusive of Māori culture. This approach to health care creates barriers resulting in a reluctance for Māori to access, engage or continue treatment.

A major finding is ‘Te Pā Ora’, meaning that it’s better and safe when you are on the inside of your community.

Behind the name

Oranga Tū was inspired by Rea Wikaira, a tāne with terminal prostate cancer and a healthy wairua (spirituality and connection to people, land, language and history). Rea said, "once my wairua was intact I was able to do anything". Wairua is rarely considered as a part of health care but for Māori, without it there is no true health.

The broadcast

The documentary premiered on TVNZ on 5 September 2021, coinciding with Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. A follow-up broadcast aired on Māori TV on 13 September 2021. The documentary can be found on both networks’ on-demand platforms or at the top of this page.


We wish to thank the tāne who participated in this research, for your generosity in sharing your stories, your experiences, but also the insight into Te Āo Maori. The challenges that come with the diagnosis of prostate cancer are many, so thank you for the gift of resilience, strength, and spirit you shared. Ngā mihi.

Oranga Tū is funded by Movember and delivered by True North, Auckland University of Technology and Otago University.

*Survival disparities between Māori and non‐Māori men with prostate cancer in New Zealand Zuzana 14 August 2014 - Obertová, Nina Scott, Charis Brown, Alistair Stewart, Ross Lawrenson