“There is no judgment at our doorstep. We tell every person that if you're ready, we're ready.  If you're not ready, I'm not the smoking Police, I'm not here to berate you. We take a strength-based approach to everything we do,” says Regional Manager, Takiri Mai te Ata Regional Stop Smoking Service, Whānau Ora Collective, Catherine Manning. 

At Takiri Mai te Ata, a Whānau Ora collective of nine health, education, justice and social service providers in the Wellington, Porirua, Hutt Valley, Kapiti and Wairarapa areas, stop smoking services are only part of the puzzle. Together each hauora Māori partner weaves a korowai of support around whānau to provide them the services they need. 

“Our whānau literally sits at the spine of our tohu which is our manu. When we're looking at service delivery, it isn't just about connecting people to quick coaches to help them stop smoking. We really engage with whānau - what is impacting on your hinengaro, your wairua, your whānau that is keeping you in this place of addiction to tobacco,” says Catherine. 

“For example, if it’s an issue of housing, we've got a service that provides crisis support for those who are impacted by housing. If it's an issue with family violence, we've got our women's refuge. There’s no point in having a conversation with someone around quitting smoking if they don’t have a whare or if they don’t have kai for their puku. Our quit coaches look at the dynamic of the household to see how they can better support whānau.” 

Catherine recalls one of their quit coaches, Lucy, providing support to a whānau based in Petone, and why their wraparound services are so important.  

“There were multiple people in this household who were smoking - on average they were spending over a thousand dollars a week on tobacco and having to access food banks to put kai on their table.” 

“Lucy worked with this whānau on designing a programme that would support them on their quit journey. The money they were spending on tobacco was income they now bring back to the whānau. They were able to purchase kai and other necessities. One memorable moment was when one of the whānau said it was the first time in years they were able to have steak.” 

“We had a kaumātua use our stop smoking services who would give up and then start again; there were many attempts to quit. We didn’t understand why this was happening so often until we visited his whare and realised, he was lonely; he wanted someone to come and see him. We put in place our kaumātua service to support him. This is the benefit of having access to multiple services.”  

The latest stop smoking data from the New Zealand Health Survey shows that daily smoking is now 6.8% compared to 8.6% from the year before, with a decrease of Māori who daily smoke, now sitting at 17.1%, down from 21.3%. Services like Takiri Mai te Ata contribute to shifting this dial to support whānau to live Smokefree says Te Aka Whai Ora Maiaka Hāpori Deputy Chief Executive Public and Population Health, Selah Hart. 

“To see a greater shift, we must support our hauora Māori partners to continue to advocate for our whānau and provide them a safe space to lead the movement of being Smokefree,” say Selah. 

“We’re proud to have provided funding to hauora Māori partners, like Takiri Mai te Ata, who make a real difference to the lives of whānau they serve.”