A man dies from prostate cancer every day on average and there is one new diagnosis every hour, Prostate Cancer Foundation analysis shows.
The foundation commissioned independent research that showed one in eight New Zealand men would develop prostate cancer in their lifetime.
The risk was up to 11 times worse if two or more close relatives have had the disease.
The research, which included a survey of 1000 men, found there was insufficient understanding of prostate cancer, with only 16 percent of men aware the disease could often develop without symptoms. Only two in five were asking their GP to check their prostates.
Prostate Cancer Foundation chief executive Graeme Woodside said the extent of the disease brought it closer to home for New Zealanders.
"It's an awful reality check to discover just how many men are affected in New Zealand.
"For most people there will be at least one man in their circle who will develop prostate cancer at some point."
Mr Woodside said the research showed 60 percent of men were not put off by tests including blood tests and digital rectal exams.
"Either is fine but it's recommended that men [do] both," Mr Woodside said.