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‘Almost all my family used to smoke’

Tina Te Tau, Masterton. PHOTO/KIRI RIWAI-COUCH

Everyone in Tina Te Tau’s family of 12 smoked – well, except for her mum who “never smoked or drank in her life”.

“We used to roll our dad’s smokes in the day – I suppose that led on to it.

“When I got to intermediate, I was exposed to others smoking and by the time I got to college I was full-time smoking.”

Tina continued to smoke with her first two children, but briefly gave up for her youngest child.

She started up again when he was one year old and, at the most, would smoke a 50g packet of tobacco a week – “at the time that was $13”.

“I never had filters. It was just straight up the guts.

“Later, when I found out I was going to be a nanny, I had horrible visions of myself with a rollie hanging out of my mouth holding on to a baby.

“It just wasn’t nice, so I made a decision then to stop.

“I didn’t want my grandkids to ever see me with a cigarette in my mouth.”

Tina gave up smoking when she was 37 and has been smokefree for 21 years now.

“There was no such thing as patches or Nicotine Replacement Therapy – none of those – it was just cold turkey.

“The decision I made was that as long as I breathed air, there would never be a cigarette pass my lips again.”

Tina said her advice when it came to smoking was to not start in the first place – “it’s just too addictive”.

And when it came to quitting, she said people just needed to make the decision to do so.

“We can make decisions for everything else in our life. It is simple.”


Nancy Aporo, Martinborough

The exhibition
‘Ka Tipu Auahi Kore Nga Mokopuna: Mokopuna Growing Up Smokefree’, is on now at Aratoi in Masterton until June 6, before touring selected venues throughout the region.

Want to quit smoking?

Call Whaiora on 06 370 0818

Phone Quitline on 0800 778 778

Text Quitline on 4006

Or log on to www.quit.org.nz

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