The call for the tribal elders to impose a smoking ban on marae, by the Maori Party has drawn a mixed response from the leaders.//
Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has advocated that the kaumatua to drive for a smoke free marae, alarmed at the unreasonably high Maori smoking rates. It has been reported that almost half of the people in Maori smoke with the rates among the women being one of the highest in the world.
Mr Harawira has said that too many kaumatua overlooked cigarette smoking on the marae with the belief that to ban it would dissuade young people from visiting. He said, 'Our people are great workers, but they would be even better workers who lived healthier, happier and longer if they didn't smoke.'
Stating that 'Te Rangimarie Marae' in Christchurch has became the first marae in the South Island to declare itself smoke free, Harawira said, 'I hope that kaumatua throughout the country look to Te Rangimarie for inspiration and not feel guilty about telling their young ones they can't smoke on the marae grounds.'
Ngapuhi chairman Sonny Tau, giving a very cautious support for the call of banning smoking has said that most Northland marae were smoke free. But cautioned that any moves to ban smoking should involve all marae members. He said, 'The call must be made with caution, with an end result of working towards it rather than just implementing it. I support his korero, because of the high smoking statistics among Maori.'
Willie Jackson, the spokesman for Nga Whare Waatea Marae in Mangere, had said that even though he would support the initiatives to end the high rates of smoking in Maori, he was opposed to it being issued as a directive from the politicians. He was quoted as saying; 'Hone has taken a hard, and probably the right, line. However reality must kick in, you have to respect people's rights.'
He further explained that as many marae workers and elders smoked and it would not be right Page: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
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