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Our vision: Lower Hutt – NZ’s healthiest people

Smokefree perspectives from our tamariki

One of the key benefits of smokefree places and spaces is making smoking less visible for our young people. If we are to achieve our Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 goals we need our next generations to be raised smokefree.

So what do our tamariki think about Wainuiomata having more smokefree places and spaces?

Wainuiomata local Leah Clark spent some time with tamariki from Te Whānau Māori Medium at Pukeatua School and found smoking was not in their future.

When asked what spaces they would like to be smokefree in Wainuiomata, the most common responses from tamariki were the shops followed by school, parks and sports grounds. At home and in cars were also places that the tamariki wished were smokefree.

“Queen Street should be smokefree because there are heaps of shops and lots of children go there.”

“One thing I like about smokefree places is that you stay safe and don’t get sick”

The students also made the link between smoking and the health impacts of second hand smoke describing it using both Te Reo and English.

One student said “Kāore he pai te kaipaipa ka mate, ka māuiui ngā pukapuka (Smoking is not good, it kills and makes the lungs sick)”

Another said “I don’t like the smell of smoking; it gives me a headache so I don’t like people smoking near me.” 

Leah and principal Pukeatua School with smokefree artwork w caption

If they were in charge, the students said they would put up more signs and use the international no smoking sign to make sure everyone knows that place is smokefree.

Leah Clark says “It is so important to listen to what our tamariki think about our community spaces and their views on smokefree places. If we can make smoking less visible to our tamariki then we are giving them the best opportunity to stay smokefree.” 

Many weren’t aware of all the places currently covered by Hutt City Council’s Smokefree Outdoor Public Places policy which includes playgrounds, swimming pools, parks and sportsgrounds, bus shelters, train stations, beaches, outside Council buildings and facilities, Council run and sponsored events and outdoor pavement dining areas.

Wainuiomata Community Board, community leaders, Regional Public Health, Takiri Mai te Ata Regional Stop Smoking Service, Healthy Families Lower Hutt and Hutt City Council are working with the community to raise awareness of current smokefree spaces in Wainuiomata as well as discussing extending this to include Queen Street.

Imagine if our community spaces are all smokefree, where young people don't see smoking and aren't exposed to secondhand smoke.