Artists unite to fight bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is New Zealand’s most common cancer – with more than 100 Kiwis losing their lives to the disease every month. Some of New Zealand’s most favourite artists are helping to raise awareness of bowel cancer during its annual awareness month in June, each created unique and individual works of art to symbolise the diverse range of New Zealanders affected by bowel cancer.

Dick Fritzell’s piece ‘I Am A Chair’

Bowel cancer statistics in New Zealand are sobering. According to the Ministry of Health, New Zealand has one of the highest incidences of bowel cancer in the developed world. Every year more than 3,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer and over 100 Kiwis lose their lives to the disease each month. Bowel cancer is curable in more than 75 percent of cases if caught early, but the country does not yet have a national screening programme.

Renowned New Zealand artists, including Dick Frizzell, Flox, Shane Hansen and Boh Runga, are helping to raise awareness of New Zealand’s most common cancer during Bowel Cancer Awareness month in June, and have each created unique and individual works of art to symbolise the diverse range of New Zealanders affected by bowel cancer.

Cancer rates by District Health Boards in New Zealand

Each artist has applied their talents to the humble chair, turning them into wonderful and functional art pieces. The art chairs can be seen at


and are being auctioned on Trade Me from the 2


– 12


June, to raise money and awareness for Bowel Cancer New Zealand (BCNZ).

In Budget 2016, the government announced the rollout of a national screening programme, but is yet to commit to a timeline for the rollout as well as ongoing funding, and currently plans to extend screening only to those aged 60-74, when international best practice is clear it should be available to those aged 50-74. Each year 350 New Zealanders within the 50-59-year age bracket are diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Sarah Derrett, Bowel Cancer New Zealand board member says, “Bowel cancer is our most common cancer, killing as many people as breast and prostate cancers combined, and four times our national road toll. We are privileged to be working with well known artists and celebrities to raise awareness of the symptoms and help increase the survival rate nationally.”

More than 100 Kiwis lose their lives to bowel cancer each month

Artist, Dick Frizzell (pictured in hero image) says, “Bowel cancer has had a personal impact on my family and I am proud to support such a great cause. It’s staggering to think that so many Kiwis die each month from bowel cancer. We hope that the chair auction can help increase awareness and save more lives in New Zealand.”

Rates of bowel cancer are high throughout New Zealand – in particular southern regions. Auckland currently has the lowest death rates.

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