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Māori Health promotes tobacco free workplace

The placing of a tupeka kore kawenata in Waikato District Health Board’s public health offices in central Hamilton shows support for a tobacco free environment is gaining strong momentum, says Te Puna Oranga general manager Ditre Tamatea.

A kawenata was placed on the Population Health offices in the Hugh Monckton Building on Wednesday February 27 that means no tobacco products are allowed on level five and the offices are now tupeka kore.

The process was led out by Te Puna Oranga (Waikato DHB’s Maori Health service) in conjunction with Population Health staff.

“The concept of tupeka kore and using tikanga Māori as a vehicle to create a tobacco free Aotearoa / New Zealand was a powerful force that complemented Waikato DHB’s work in the area of policy and service provision to create smokefree whānau and communities,” said Mr Tamatea.

The placing of a tupeka kore kawenata on behalf of the Population Health staff of 50 indicates that the support for the concept is gaining strong momentum.

Te Puna Oranga works with a number of services, Māori health providers and kura across the Waikato DHB region to promote the concept of tupeka kore (tobacco free Aotearoa / New Zealand).

Tupeka Kore is Te Puna Oranga’s tobacco free programme targeting whānau, communities, iwi, hapū and marae encouraging tobacco-free lifestyles.

In 2012, Te Puna Oranga offices were the first Waikato DHB service to become tupeka kore, followed by the Midland Cancer Network.

Te Puna Oranga gained strong support from Bright Stars Educare Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson (governance board), and Ngā Taiatea Wharekura (governance board) to also support the leadership position of tupeka kore.

Te Puna Oranga continues to place significant emphasis on work that supports tupeka kore / auahi kore (smokefree) objectives, including providing in-patient quit support and the distribution of over 1500 pepi-pods (safe sleep modules) with smokefree and breastfeeding messages to high need whānau.

Now a “train the trainers” programme has been launched in conjunction with Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa and the Tainui Weavers Collective to create 100 wahakura (safe sleep modules made out of harakeke / flax) that will be distributed along with safe sleep, smokefree and breastfeeding messages.

“The reason why we focus so much on auahi kore / tupeka kore Aotearoa is simple. Smoking and tobacco related diseases result in the highest number of deaths for Māori. Our tamariki, mokopuna and whānau are the ones who miss out,” said Mr Tamatea.

ENDS

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