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Harawira calls for kaumatua to rid marae of smoke

Media Release
Friday 11 August 2006


Harawira calls for kaumatua to exercise mana and rid marae of smoke

Hone Harawira will call for kaumatua to exercise their authority so as to make their marae smoke free when he speaks in Christchurch tomorrow.

“The people of Te Rangimarie Centre are warriors for the auahi kore cause. They certainly have that warrior gene – the one that has encouraged them to show strength in their determination to come out against a substance that is killing our people,” Harawira said.

The Māori Party MP launched his campaign targetting tobacco companies in May this year and on Saturday, when he speaks to the people of Te Rangimarie Centre in Christchurch, he will appeal for Māori elders throughout the country to follow the centre’s lead and make their “tribal womb” totally smoke free.
"I know that there’s heaps of our marae who are already auahi kore - and tomorrow is a great time to celebrate all those marae who are working towards their auahi koretanga" said Harawira.

After months of debating, and with the help of the Hauora Matauraka aukati kaipaipa team, the Te Rangimarie committee has introduced a policy to ban smoking everywhere on their complex. Hone has been invited to present the people of the centre with an auahi kore award for doing so.

While Te Rangimarie is not a traditional marae, it is a gathering place for Māori from all iwi who have made Christchurch their home. It was also the first place in the South Island to set up a Catholic Maori mission.

“I’ve heard much about the challenges they have overcome to get this far, and I’m inspired by the story of one of their local kaumatua, Ted Mita Te Hae".

“I’ve heard that Ted flies the auahi kore flag in many of the whaikörero that he gives which is great because our elders can be blunt and not get any backlash for it like younger people do.”

Hone believed too many kaumatua condoned cigarette smoking on their marae, not because they wanted to, but because they did not want to scare the younger generation away. And because they did not want to pressure them because they do great work behind the scenes, harvesting and preparing food for visitors.

“Our people are great workers but they would be even better workers who lived healthier, happier and longer if they didn’t smoke. I’m happy that Ted and the other elders at Te Rangimarie have recognised this and acted for no other reason but because they love their people”.

“I hope that kaumatua throughout the country look to Te Rangimarie for inspiration and not feel guilty about telling their young ones they can’t smoke on the marae grounds.”

ENDS

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