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Reluctant role model kicks smoking habit

Jun 28th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

MAORI singer Chad Chambers is quitting smoking.

Mr Chambers (right) was at the presentation of Quitline’s new bilingual booklet, Me Mutu Tatou/ Let’s all Quit.

“Young kids look up at me to be a role model and I don’t want to be that role model,” says Chad, as he shares his experience of giving up smoking on Maori TV.

The launch took place at Te Wharewaka, on the Wellington waterfront.

Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia launched the booklet and was lead speaker at the event.

The Minister described Matariki as the perfect time to quit smoking.

“It is a time to receive and give nourishment to Papatuanuku,” she said.

Matariki occurs in mid-June each year when the cluster of stars known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters appears in the night sky.

For Maori, this was a time of new beginnings, a time to plant new crops.

Tariana Turia said there is evidence that tax increases on tobacco products have decreased consumption.

The aim is for the country to be smoke free by 2025: “We’re the first country in the world to undertake this aspirational goal.”

Other speakers included Quitline CEO Paula Snowden, who identified herself as a smoker who took   four attempts to quit.

“If we believe it, our actions will follow,” she said.

The speeches were punctuated with kapa haka performances by Wellington schools and Turakina Girls College from Marton (below right).

Georgina Te Heuheu, Chair of Maori Television spoke of Maori being over represented in smoking statistics.

“Maori always knew that smoking wasn’t right,” she said.

She referred to a haka composed by a Te Arawa leader in 1883 that warned of the dangers of smoking.

Chad Chambers was the final speaker and performer.

“I don’t have a speech prepared so I’ll just freestyle it,” he said before sharing some jokes with young performers from Newtown Primary School.

Chad won the Homai Te Paki Paki singing competition on Maori TV last year.

Quitline’s Senior Communications Advisor, Sarah Woods said they work closely with Maori TV as Maori are a key target for their service.

“We were talking to them about doing some kind of promotion on Homai Te Paki Paki when it transpired that last year’s winner, Chad, was a smoker who was keen to quit.”

Chad was then signed up to the same service all Quitline clients receive and his video diaries screen fortnightly on the show, encouraging others to quit with him.

One instalment ends with Chad saying “Smoking is teets”.

“Teets” is urban slang for when a person is too gutless to do something.

The new booklet and other information is obtainable by calling Quitline on 0800 778778 or by visiting the website.

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