I was fortunate enough to meet these Mana Wahines from the Auckland council that works in different fields to elevate Māori health and culture from their own indigenous perspective.

Rebecca, Smokefree Activator for Auckland Council, is proactively working towards a smokefree Tāmaki Makaurau, as census data from 2018 indicates that Māori and Pacific people comprise 55 per cent of all smokers in the region.

The council’s Kaupapa Here Auahi Kore (Smokefree Policy) aims to reduce smoking and improve the health and well-being of Aucklanders – aligning with the Government’s goal of becoming a smokefree nation by 2025.

An innovative smokefree commitment plan Auahi Kore Hāpori Whānui has been developed to help support and empower eight communities in Auckland to reduce their smoking.

“Auahi Kore Hāpori Whānui is innovative because it will be community led.”

“I think large generic national campaigns do help, but those messages aren’t working for large groups of Pacific and Māori in our communities. We need to rethink our messaging and part of that is working within different cultures to find out what resonates and works for them.”

“We hope by encouraging these communities to determine their own pathways and lead from within, it will prevent future generations from starting, and it will help people that smoke tobacco to quit.”

Olivia is from Pakiri on the east coast, north of Auckland. Olivia’s iwi (tribal affiliations) are Ngāti Manuhiri, Ngāti Wai and Ngāti Ruanui. Olivia is a mother of three and an urban planner and urban designer at Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland Council).

Olivia has a background in Māori art, design, planning and urban design. She currently works as an Urban Design Specialist – Māori Design in the Auckland Design Office at Auckland Council. She champions design partnerships with Mana Whenua (tribal authorities) and urban kaitiakitanga (central Māori value of reciprocal care of natural and physical resources and environmental restoration in urban environments) and specifically works to incorporate Māori design thinking into council’s urban design strategy and planning.

Olivia loves art, being Māori, and living in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). Her design work and research investigates indigenous innovation, Māori urbanism, Māori design principles, qualities and outcomes. When design is inclusive of indigenous knowledge and mixes old ways of knowing, being and doing with new modes and technologies, it has transformational urban, social and environmental outcomes that can mutually benefit all.

“Finding Māoritanga” – Public art/space as a form of indigenous resistance in an culturally erased and colonised space.”


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