For three months, five Northland teams will take on their Auckland counterparts in a challenge to remain smokefree until August 31st. The team with the most smokers who have quit at the end of the competition wins $5000. A further $500 cash prize is available for teams that generate the most activity on the WERO website.
Northland District Health Board, Te Wh?nau o Waipareira Trust and Enua Ola Pacific Churches are each putting forward five teams of 10 participants, to compete in the Wh?nau End smoking Regional wh?nau Ora challenge. That's a total of 15 teams with 150 smokers taking up the challenge of quitting.
'WERO' is a Quit to Win competition which sits within the wider Turanga Research Programme lead by the Centre for Tobacco Control Research at the University of Auckland. The Turanga has been tasked with investigating innovative ways of reducing the current smoking prevalence rate in Maori and Pacific people.
The competition, which began on 31st May - World Smokefree Day, includes the following Northland teams:
Hokianga - members of the Hokianga kapa haka team to compete at next years Te Matatini
Nga Ahunga - a second team from the Hokianga kapa haka club
Otiria Legends, made up of members and supporters from Otiria Sports Club
Butt-It-Out, whanau members from the small settlement of Te Tii, Kerikeri
Rangimarie, made of members and whanau from the Rangimarie netball club in Dargaville.
After 4 weeks Northland teams are doing very well with the Otiria Legends leading the competition.
Each team has a non-smoker coach - much like a sports team, the coaches' role is to motivate and drive the team along, ensuring that their eye is kept firmly not only on the prize-money but also on the long term goal of becoming smokefree for life.
Northland DHB coordinator for this project Tobacco Control Advisor Ralph Ruka says the role of the coach is crucial to the teams success, but also the knowledge and support from friends, family and the community are important;
"It would be great if everyone got behind their local team and helped them to achieve their goals, individually to quit smoking, and as a team to win the prize money for their local nominated charity.
It's not easy to Quit smoking, so they will at one time or another need a little extra support from their whanau, work mate or neighbour" Ralph added.
Northland DHB are supporting the coaches and participants with appropriate resources and information to ensure they have the best possible chance of quitting for good, and winning the challenge.
Participants are also being linked to quit smoking support services such as Aukati Kaipaipa and Quitline where they can access Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) that help ease cravings, and workshops have been planned at key junctions throughout the challenge, to bring the teams together and help participants build on their smokefree status. These workshops will cover subject like cessation support services and providers, addiction and quitting, nutrition advice, physical activity options and more.
Teams are being monitored throughout the competition, with the data entered into the competition database. Teams are linked to a competition website where they can monitor their own progress against that of the other teams, but they also have the ability to post blogs about their experiences. Supporters will also be able to access the website, see their local team's progress, and also post comments in support
The website address is http://www.wero.me/
In addition to the competitions $5000 grand prize, the Northland DHB will be providing a further $2000 prize as an added incentive for teams from this region.
All of the prizes, including the grand prize, must be donated to a charity or organisation.
Ralph is encouraging Northlanders to get behind their teams, "We all like to win, so get right behind your local Quit stars, they're competing not only for prize money which goes straight back to your own community, but for their own long term health."
If you would like to Quit Smoking, there is support to help you throughout the journey. See your doctor, see an Aukati Kaipaipa provider, ring Quitline at 0800 778 778, or see their website www.quit.org.nz for more information.
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