May 16, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

If you want to stop smoking, come and take the WERO Challenge!

4 min read

WERO is a 3 month team stop smoking contest.

WERO is about teams of people quitting together rather than individuals trying to go it alone. WERO is designed to be fun – WERO also gives communities a chance to raise some money for a good cause. Our communities are always fund-raising for our childrens schools, for our church groups and for our kapa haka (Maori cultural performance) and sports teams. We believe WERO will work for smokers from any cultures.Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.17.29 amAdults (aged 16 years and over) who are regular daily smokers form a team of 10 and they find themselves a coach (Kaihautu) who is a non-smoker or ex-smoker. Each team needs to find a stop smoking specialist (Kaiwhakatere) who can test all team members to verify that they are smokers and eligible to participate in the competition, and who can also test team members at the end of the competition. The stop smoking worker (Kaiwhakatere) can also provide expert advice on stopping smoking, in addition to support from coaches and fellow team members.

WERO Co-ordinators can also help the coaches register teams on the WERO website. Once teams have been tested and registered they can get on with stopping smoking. Each week coaches will update the WERO website with the smoking status of everyone in the team. If someone is unable to be reached their smoking status will be updated as smoking. If a team member posts about their smoking status on the website, the web moderator will update the website accordingly. Team members who have not smoked for at least 24 hours are eligible to report non-smoking status on the WERO website. Smoking status will be verified at the end of the competition.

Each WERO competition runs for 3 months. The team with the most smokefree members at the end of the competition is the winner, and their nominated charity or community group will receive the prize. There may be other prizes available this will be different in each competition.

Why do we need a contest like WERO?

In Aotearoa/New Zealand, Maori (41%) and Pacific Island (33%) people have significantly higher rates of smoking compared to the rest of the population (18%). Whilst, the range of current stop smoking programmes (like Quitline) work just as well for Maori and Pacific people, not enough Maori and Pacific smokers are using existing stop smoking programmes to halve our high smoking prevalence rates by 2020.

Is WERO new? Does it work?

Yes and yes. WERO was developed by researchers at the University of Auckland. The initial WERO pilot ran from 31 May to 30 August 2012. Verified Quit rates at three months exceeded expectations at 36%. Fifteen teams from three regions competed: 5 rural M?ori teams from Northland, supported by Ralph Ruka and Warren Moetara from Northland DHB; 5 urban M?ori teams from West Auckland, supported by Julia Choi at Te Whanau o Waipareira; and 5 teams from the Enua Ola Pacific Churches communities in Auckland, supported by Faaoso Setu employed by the Centre for Tobacco Control Research.

The winning team was OTIRIA LEGENDS from Moerewa who were competing for the Otiria Sports Club. All ten of them stopped smoking. They didn’t have an easy time of it however, as two Pacific teams had high success rates also. The website participation prize $500 per region went to Otiria Legends in the North, Big Guns in West Auckland and the Pacific team PIC.

The NEW Hapunga Auahi Kore / Smokefree Pregnancy Prize!

This is a new prize category to help pregnant mums to not smoke. Its easier for pregnant mums to not smoke if their partner and others stop smoking with her, so this prize is intended to encourage partners, family, friends and supporters of a pregnant mum to quit with and for her and baby.

Teams who are supporting a pregnant mum on their team to not smoke throughout the competition can nominate up to two women per team. If the nominated woman is verified not smoking at the end of the 3 month competition – she will win a prize pack for baby. More like a spot prize, this Hapunga Auahi Kore Prize goes to the mama directly for her to keep.

The value of the prize will be based on the numbers of weeks in the competition that the mama reports not smoking. She will be awarded 10 points for every week she remains smokefree and if not smoking at the end of the competition she will earn 10 bonus points for every team member who finishes smokefree with her. For example, If the mama remains smokefree for 3 months along with all members of her team being stopped at the end she will receive a $210 prize pack. To register one of your team members as hapu, please email[email protected]. This must be done before March 8th.

This prize category is for women who are pregnant. If a contestant finds out she is pregnant during the competition, she can be nominated for the prize, but her points will only accumulate from the week WERO is notified.

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