2 Apr 2012

School curbs smoking with healthy activities

6:50 am on 2 April 2012

Students at a North Island Maori girls boarding school are stamping out smoking through their sports and kapa haka activities.

Turakina Maori Girls College in Marton has previously been praised by the Whanganui District Health Board for significant improvements in cutting down on smoking rates.

The college's smoke-free co-ordinator Kere Mihaere says senior students play a big part in steering juniors away from lighting up by encouraging them to join sports teams and cultural performance groups.

He says the young wahine learn about the detrimental side effects of smoking and the benefits of being smoke-free by watching other girls, especially the senior students who act as positive role models.

Mr Mihaere says many of the junior pupils have decided that there is no point in starting smoking when everybody else is having fun doing kapa haka and being involved in sports.

He says the school provides support for the few smokers it does have through Quitline and mentoring programmes.