Marae kaumatua Barney Taiapa and kohanga teacher Debbie
Kuiti stub out their cigarettes at the Arai Te Uru, which
this week became the first marae in Otago to go smokefree.
Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Setting an example for the younger generation is the
reason why the Arai Te Uru marae in Wakari, Dunedin, is
becoming the first smokefree marae in Otago.
"We have to lead by example and this is the reason we are
going smokefree,''Arai Te Uru kaumatua Barney Taiapa said.
"For us, it is about health... unless our people are healthy
our language won't survive. We need healthy people.''
A smoker since he was 15, Mr Taiapa said he planned to give
up his 12-cigarette-a-day habit and the marae going smokefree
was a way to "kick it in the butt''.
"With the grounds being smokefree it means I have further to
walk, so I guess it is a good time to give up,'' he said.
Previously, people smoked at the back of the marae, but its
new smokefree policy meant people had to smoke away from the
building and its grounds, "right in the direction of the
southerly'', said Mr Taiapa.
The idea to become Otago's first smokefree marae came from
the marae's council and was supported by Public Health South,
health promotion adviser Morehu Solomon said.
"While the marae itself is smokefree, previously people
smoked around the marae, but this initiative is forcing
people to smoke away from the site.
"It is about promoting a healthy lifestyle and having
positive role-models for our children,'' he said.
Public Health South was in discussions with the marae at
Moeraki to go smokefree, with more marae in Otago likely to
become smokefree in the future, Mr Solomon said.