New stop smoking programme helping to raise a smokefree generation

It’s fair to say 2020 has been a challenging year, but it’s ending on a high note for participants who took part in the pilot Hikitia Te Hā stop smoking incentive programme at Te Kōhanga Reo o Te Horomako o Te Huruhuru early childhood centre in Islington. 

Te Hā - Waitaha Stop Smoking Practitioner Nika Matenga, says the Hikitia Te Hā Programme, which means to ‘lift our existence’, focuses on supporting people to become smokefree through eight weekly group sessions. It helps create a smokefree culture and promote a smokefree generation, as tamariki (children) are seven times more likely to smoke if a parent or caregiver smokes.  

Mother and daughter Pearl and Lovinia Toia who completed the programme, both agree that quitting with the support of a group and your whānau makes all the difference.

“Just knowing that you’re not alone and being able to share your experience with others makes it so much easier. It was also helpful to have my mum doing the programme because there was someone at home going through the same thing and we could support each other,” says Pearl.

“I grew up surrounded by whānau who smoked and then there was peer pressure at school, so I started smoking in high school. I’ve tried to quit four times but started again when life got stressful.”  

“This time I’ve given up for my son. I don’t want to be a walking ash tray anymore and my son having to watch me smoke. My mum is also quitting for the whānau and because she has asthma.”

“With the help of good people and a good Stop Smoking Practitioner it feels more promising this time. We all got on well and there was lots of support. Being at the kohanga reo (early childhood centre) made it 100% more likely we could stop because it was family orientated and you can’t smoke at the centre,” says Pearl. 

Nika added: “This programme has been extremely successful with all six participants now smokefree. 
“This year we have been focusing on supporting young wāhine Māori to become smokefree, and the support of whānau is so important. So, it was only fitting that we worked on developing a programme that supports whānau connected to the kohanga reo.”

We approached the kōhanga reo about the kaupapa (programme).  They gathered a group of their whānau who wanted to learn more about the impacts of tobacco. Hikitia Te Hā is a dual incentive programme where the participants and the kōhanga reo receive an incentive voucher for every successful smokefree outcome. 

Programme Lead for Te Hā - Waitaha Maraea Peawini says the idea of the dual incentive programme acknowledges that we can’t do this alone and we need support from the community and our whānau. 

“Poipoia te kākano kia puawai’ - Nurture the seed and it will blossom."

“In smokefree the planting of a symbolic seed is something we do a lot of. Every idea, every discussion needs nurturing, so that it may blossom.” 

“In this pilot we wanted more than just a metaphorical seed. From the first session, the participants all received a wee pot, some soil and chose what seeds they would like to plant. 

“The plants we both grew are thriving and so are we,” says Pearl and Lovinia.

Hikitia te Hā stop smoking incentive programme pilot has planted and nurtured a wonderful seed. This seed will soon flourish and bear fruit for other kōhanga reo in Waitaha.

E kore e mimiti te puna aroha ki a koutou ko te whānau o Te Kōhanga Reo o Te Horomako o Te Huruhuru e u ana ki te kaupapa rangatira nei. 

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