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Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke ropū launches tobacco research programme

On Thursday 22nd August, the tobacco control sector and community members were welcomed onto Kōkiri Marae to celebrate the launch of Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke; a five-year research programme funded by the Health Research Council.

The day began with a pōwhiri. John Kingi (grandson of Keriana Olsen) spoke on behalf of the hau kāinga and matua, then Rangi McLean and Toa Waaka spoke on behalf of the manuhiri. Dan Umaga was master of ceremonies for the programme launch, which included brief presentations from each of the research partners.

Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke represents a collaboration between ASPIRE 2025, Hāpai Te Hauora, Kōkiri Marae and ESR. Each partner spoke about addressing smoking disparities to achieve a Smokefree Aotearoa and the importance of working together to ensure leaders at every level, from communities to government, have a chance to contribute to this goal.

Anaru Waa (Ngāti Hine) Co-director of Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke

Anaru Waa (Ngāti Hine) co-director of the programme stated: “From a Māori perspective, we need to better understand what is causing smoking disparities to exist and what we can do from a policy perspective. We also need to engage and support from a community perspective too.”

Chief Executive Officer of Hāpai Te Hauora Selah Hart commented: “a tobacco-free nation is a Māori nation. I’m looking forward to 2025, when this 5 year programme concludes, so I can say that we did it – we are a smokefree Aotearoa because we listened to our Māori communities and followed their lead.”

Taonga symbolising the interweaving of knowledge and strength, and the collaboration between Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke’s research partners

A taonga symbolising these sentiments was presented, which included beautiful putiputi (flowers) woven from harakeke. The taonga was blessed and a piece given to each partner to signify the collaboration between different sectors within the programme.

Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke represents the interweaving of knowledge and strength to achieve our country’s vision to be smokefree by 2025 and the interconnectedness that we share with one another and te taiao. The programme aims to work with Māori communities to develop and improve ways to eliminate smoking inequities and accelerate progress towards a Smokefree Aotearoa.

Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke ropū

For more information about the programme please contact: aspire2025@otago.ac.nz

We would like to thank Kōkiri Marae Keriana Olsen Trust for hosting the event, our research partners, and the tobacco control sector and community members who came to support the day.