Te Aho o Te Kahu – Cancer Control Agency

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 a sharp focus on this important health issue.



Te Aho o Te Kahu provides strong central leadership and oversight of cancer control and unites efforts to deliver better cancer outcomes for Aotearoa New Zealand. Te Aho o Te Kahu is also accountable for ensuring transparency of progress towards the goals and outcomes in the National Cancer Action Plan 2019 – 2029.

In practice, this leadership and oversight is delivered through:

  • providing advice to Government 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.


Agency name

The te reo Māori name is a taonga that was gifted by Hei Āhuru Mōwai, the Māori Cancer Leadership Network in June 2020. This name is a core part of the Agency’s identity. Te Aho o Te Kahu means ‘the central thread of the cloak. Te Aho: the central thread symbolises the Agency and their role as a leader and connector across the cancer control continuum. Te Kahu: the cloak symbolises all the services, organisations, communities and people across the cancer continuum.


Vision and values

The Agency’s vision is to achieve fewer cancers, better survival and equity for all. The strategic direction and work programme are underpinned by the values of being equity-led, knowledge-driven, outcomes-focused and person- and whānau-centred.



Te Aho o Te Kahu Chief Executive Rami Rahal reports directly to the Minister of Health. An Advisory Council (50 percent Māori membership) and three key leadership groups provide advice to the chief executive: Hei Āhuru Mōwai, Māori Cancer Leadership Network, He Ara Tangata, Consumer Reference Group (50 percent Māori membership) and the National Clinical Assembly.

Te Aho o Te Kahu has an Office of the Chief Executive and five teams – the composition and work programme of each team strongly aligns with Te Aho o Te Kahu values: Equity Team, Person- and Whānau-centred Care Team, Clinical Advisory Team, Quality Improvement Team and the Data, Monitoring and Reporting Team. The teams based in our National Office are joined by four regional hubs located in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Christchurch. These teams report through to the Office of the Chief Executive.


Operating environment

The role of Te Aho o Te Kahu is unchanged by the health system reforms, the Agency remains the national leader for cancer control and continues to be the central thread which connects and unites both new and existing health entities, and the wider cancer sector, providing expertise and support to improve outcomes for whānau with cancer.

Tumuaki, Chief Executive & National Director of Cancer Control Rami Rahal (appointed July 2023) is responsible for the work programme and is accountable directly to the Minister of Health.