Mums weave wahakura for smokefree futures

By Talisa Kupenga

Bay of Plenty mums who want to quit smoking before the birth of their babies are learning through a wahakura workshop how to make better choices for their families. Ūkaipō co-ordinator Tiare Bennet says the programme is unique in that it's the only one where mums weave their own wahakura instead of receiving one as a gift.

Mums are weaving a smokefree future for their babies.

Mother, Tiare Nicholas (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngai Te Rangi) says, "The great thing about wahakura is that everyone in the family can help and be part of making something together that is special for baby."

Ūkaipō supports smoking mums who want to quit and stay smokefree for baby. The wahakura is the vessel for information about smoking and its effects and safe sleep practices which mums learn while weaving throughout the free four-day course. 

Nicholas says, "We need to consider the impacts our decisions have on the future generations. If you smoke while pregnant then your children are more likely to become smokers and before you know it your grandchildren will be smokers too.

Since the pilot started in November, 20 mums have taken part. Seventy percent of them have become smokefree while the rest significantly reduced their intake.

Programme Director, Tiana Bennett says, "Some have picked it up afterwards and that's life, stresses or whatever but they actually receive follow-up support through local stop smoking service as well."

Nicholas says, "My smoking days are over but what I'd really like is my family, community and all of Māori to become smokefree."

This is the third of six Ūkaipō workshops that will run under the pilot programme. The next is expected for July.