Marae’s healthy change

Northern News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

A Hokianga marae has taken a stand to fur­ther en­sure the sur­vival of its de­scen­dants by be­com­ing auahi kore [smokefree].

The Morehu Marae in Pawarenga has cel­e­brated its adop­tion of its auahi kore marae pol­icy on Au­gust 7 in a bid to cel­e­brate the health of its peo­ple and send a clear mes­sage to smok­ers to stop be­fore they start.

The pol­icy comes on the back of the suc­cess­ful Wero stop smok­ing pro­gramme im­ple­mented by Te Hiku Hauora in the com­mu­nity last year. Of the ten smok­ers who took part, seven stopped for good.

Many marae mem­bers shared sto­ries of loved ones who have suc­cumbed to smok­ing-re­lated ill­nesses.

‘‘For the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion and the health of our young peo­ple – this is what the kau­papa is all about. If you don’t have some mea­sures or some level of com­mit­ment to our peo­ple that we’re try­ing to help them, then we’re fail­ing. I’d rather fail try­ing than not try at all,’’ says marae com­mit­tee mem­ber Frank Her­bert.

Fel­low com­mit­tee mem­ber Hepa Stephens says the pol­icy is an ex­pres­sion of aroha. The ul­ti­mate goal is keep­ing the marae as a cen­tral place where good health is nor­mal. ‘‘We want to make our marae a place where ev­ery­one can learn our tikanga and our reo, and en­joy good health. The marae is the place for that.’’

Morehu Marae is proud to go smokefree.

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