New Zealand’s National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP)  

The National Bowel Screening Programme is being rolled out progressively throughout New Zealand.  Once fully implemented it will offer free screening to all eligible New Zealanders aged 60-74 years.

Waitemata, Counties Manukau, Hutt Valley, Wairarapa, Southern, Nelson/Marlborough and Hawkes Bay DHBs now offer free screening.

The remaining DHBs will progressively join the NBSP which is expected to be fully implemented by the end of the 2020/21 financial year. Once fully implemented the NBSP will invite 700,000 New Zealanders to participate in bowel screening every two years.

Approximately 500-700 cancers each year are expected to be detected initially once the programme is fully rolled out.

Screening is for people who do not have symptoms of bowel cancer. Anyone with symptoms should see their doctor.

How the programme works:

  • Bowel screening will be offered every two years to men and women aged 60 to 74 years, who are eligible for publicly funded health care.
  • When it is your turn to be screened you will be sent an invitation letter, a consent form and a free bowel screening test kit.
  • The faecal immunochemical test (FIT) can detect tiny traces of blood present in a small sample of your bowel motion. This may be an early warning sign that something is wrong with your bowel.
  • The screening test is simple, clean and fast. You do it by yourself at home.  Click here to watch a brief ‘how to’ tutorial video
  • You’ll receive your first invitation within two years of the programme starting in your area.

More information on the National Bowel Screening Programme is available at, or by phoning 0800 924 432.