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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Nz Maori, Effects of Colonisation and Introduction of Tobacco

David Arthur Ihimaera and Elizabeth Schultz. Health Promotions, Ngati Hine Health Trust, 2-4 Rayner Street, Moerewa, Northland, New Zealand

Objective: Inform audience about the impact Tobacco has had on the Maori people of NZ

Methods: Verbal presentation supported by a Haka (Maori War Dance)

Results: Audience will have an understanding of the Maori culture as well as the effects of Tobacco. NZ Maori have a history stretching back to Ranginui, the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother. From their union were born numerous Gods who ruled the many domains of our world, including Tane, God of the Forest. It was Tane who created the first woman from the soil of the earth. He breathed life into her and chanted the words “Tihei Mauri Ora” translated, “Tis the Breath of Life”

Breath is sacred to Maori, but this has been tainted by tobacco brought onto our shores by the early colonizers in the 18th Century, hungering for land and material wealth. Maori were caught by this strange culture of extravagance and were dizzy from the taste of alcohol, sweet food and tobacco. All have had huge impacts on the failing health of the Maori People today.

47% of Maori smoke compared to 27% Non-Maori. These statistics attribute to the high rates of Maori deaths from Cancer, Heart Disease and Respiratory Diseases compared to other ethnic groups living in New Zealand.

Maori self-determination in New Zealand is growing stronger. The prevalence of Maori smoking is declining due to the introduction of Environmental Smoke Laws, Tobacco Control Initiatives and the tireless work from our people working on the ground promoting “A Tobacco Free World”