Tuariki Delamere reveals he's fighting bladder cancer

Former Associate Minister of Health Tuariki Delamere has found himself at the business end of his old portfolio, fighting for his life against aggressive bladder cancer.

"About three months ago I felt something wasn't quite right, so [my doctor] was a bit worried so he sent me to get an ultrasound scan," he told The Hui.

"That confirmed I had an enlarged prostate. When they were up there they discovered I had a tumour on my bladder."

As a NZ First MP, Delamere was a minister in the first-ever MMP coalition government. He invited The Hui to follow his treatment to encourage other Māori men to seek the help they need.

"If this helps someone, it saves even one person then it's worth it, because I've seen cousins die who shouldn't have died because they wouldn't go and get checked."

Delamere has had to undergo radical surgery to remove his bladder and will live with a urostomy pouch for the rest of his life, but he says it's better than the alternative.

"Recovery will take a while, but once it settles down it's inconvenient - but hey, you're alive."

Although Māori men develop cancer at the same rate as non-Māori, they are one-and-a-half times more likely to die from it. Delamere is determined not to be one of them, and wants men to be proactive about their health.

"Well in the last three weeks I've had four cousins pass away, and at least three of the four, they probably didn't seek medical treatment in time - and that's what this is about; not just for my whanau, for all Kiwis, especially in this case for men. 

"For goodness' sake, go get yourselves tested. Better to be alive than too late."

The Hui