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Teenagers Unite To Issue Challenge To Smokers

Teenagers Unite To Issue Challenge To Smokers To Quit This Matariki

Over 120 teenagers united in Wellington’s Civic Square this morning (9 June) to challenge smokers to quit as part of a public this Matariki ceremony organised by Quitline. A challenge to smokers was issued in the form of haka, waiata and performances from Te Aute College, Hato Paora College, Turakina Māori Girls College, Wellington High, Ngā Mokopuna and Rongotai College as well as a group of Cancer Society Smokefree Ambassadors. Associate Minister of Health, Hon. Tariana Turia and Minister of Women's Affairs, Hon. Hekia Parata also issued messages encouraging smokers to quit and start the Maori New Year Smokefree.

The ceremony was opened by Te Ātiawa and led by longtime Smokefree advocate Amster Reedy of Ngāti Porou. A major focus of the ceremony was the smokefree haka composed by Raureti Mokonuiārangi in 1883. This showed that long before the link between smoking and cancer was proven by scientists, Māori leadership was challenging Māori to stop using tobacco.

Speaking at the event, Paula Snowden (Ngāpuhi), Chief Executive of Quitline, said: “Raureti Mokonuiārangi’s haka was written in 1883. He was blunt, direct and right – it is stupid to inhale 5000 chemicals and it does kill one in two of its users.”

She continued: “Through this event, Māori rangatahi have laid down the challenge to parents and whānau. They are asking smokers to let this Matariki be the time when they quit and make Smokefree the future for Māori and all New Zealanders.”

Quitline encourages anyone who wants to quit this Matariki to make use of its free services. Support is available by calling 0800 778 778 or registering at www.quit.org.nz

ENDS

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