Regional | Rangatahi

Tackling rangatahi vaping through song and leadership programme

Te Arawa Whānau Ora (TAWO) has opened registrations for its Toitū singer/songwriter competition and 12-week leadership programme for rangatahi aged 13 to 18.

Applicants are required to compose an original song, incorporating te reo Māori, related to the theme, ‘Smoking, Vaping ... Not Our Future’.

Lots of prizes and giveaways are up for grabs, including the grand prize of $5,000 for the overall winning group or individual, which will be decided at a performance event on Friday, November 4.

Tipi Daniela (Te Arawa) and TAWO health coach Preston Hotene (Ngāti Hauā), who are fronting the campaign, have had some great support for the kaupapa from the likes of Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi and Black Ferns star Stacey Fluhler.

“We’re actually quite lucky to have such a great organisation, with such great connections within those sort of networks to those kinds of people. It’s been great to have them on board and promote the kaupapa,” Hotene says.

The leadership programme includes 12 workshops, attendance at a five-day noho, and developing and promoting a smokefree/vapefree campaign. Rangatahi will also be required to complete mahi kainga, maramataka journaling, and waiata preparation.

“[The programme] teaches them how to protect themselves, and also how to advocate not just for themselves but for kaupapa as well,” Hotene says.

Hotene says rangatahi in Rotorua have turned to vaping due to trying to fit in with their mates and be part of the trend. Now it’s time to have the rangatahi voice involved.

“Within this programme we’re going to teach them and hopefully not tell them to stop but teach them the effects and what it can do, and for them to have a voice in these health initiatives.

“When we look at it, they are the rangatahi of āpōpō. They are our future generation.”