Hineawhi is a 47-year-old Māori woman. She lives in the lower North Island. Hineawhi is the mother of two teenagers.

First cigarette – I was 13.

I currently smoke about 20 rollies on a normal day. The only time I buy tailor-mades is when I’m thinking I’ll just have this packet and then I’m quitting.  

Quit attempts?

I’ve tried to quit – oh, over a hundred times! I always want to quit. I’ve tried everything.  

In the last 30 years, the longest I’ve stopped was probably about 7 months. The other times it would have been only a couple of weeks. 

Healthcare support to stop smoking

Sometimes it helps. I had one lady who was really good, but most of the people that I’ve had only work during work hours. So, if you’re at work too then they aren’t available when you are. They don’t do it at night or after work hours. So, it’s no good. The only other option is if you ring Quitline. 

Tried homegrown tobacco?

I think I have. My cousin had some. It seems a bit hard to access. I think it was about $10 cheaper, but the quality, ugh, there was thick bits in it – like a lot of clumpy bits. 

Tried vaping?

I don’t mind vaping. I’ve tried it, but I couldn’t find the right one for me. I either break it by mistake, I don’t read the instructions, I don’t use it properly or I’m just not buying the right one. I’ve been to a vape store. Maybe they were just busy at the time – I’ve asked twice – it wasn’t helpful. I went to another good shop about 20 minutes away and I asked about the type of vapes and strength of liquid, but they didn’t know either.

I’ve tried about 3-5 different types of vapes – electric, one with a juice, one that’s a pen etc. They end up breaking or I end up wasting them. 


Banning smoking in cars

It’s not good for the health of our children to smoke in the car. So yeah, banning smoking in cars, that’s okay.   

Tobacco tax increases

Oh, I just think they’re making money off of our addiction, off of our health, or illness. The price affects me., I rarely go to a hairdresser or a dentist. I mostly shop at second-hand shops. But I still buy tobacco because I’m addicted and, even though I’ve tried stopping over a 100 times, I haven’t been able to kick the habit yet.

Smokefree 2025

All these quit programmes and stop-smoking people and organisations – I haven’t found them helpful for myself. The reason I haven’t found them helpful is because their approach is very clinical. It’s like, “You need to patch, you need to do all these things, you need to …” whatever else, and do these strategies and then you can quit. But, like, where are our voices in that? When do we get to say the strategies that we think will help us quit? Nobody ever asks us what we need to quit. If you do say something to the quit-smoking people, they just say, “Oh no, you don’t do that – you have the option of these patches, or it’s just gum”. Well, I don’t want either of those. They don’t work for me. And then you fall outside of that.

They need to listen to us smokers. There are others, you know, we wanna be able to shape or create those solutions for ourselves. I look forward to doing that. 


Initially I smoked more ‘cause of the anxiety around that whole COVID situation. My stop-smoking person dropped some patches into the mailbox, the lowest strength because that’s all she had, which meant I had to wear 3x 7mg matches at once. This doesn’t work for me and I told her that. Again, I wish stop-smoking organisations would listen to us and let us co-create our own strategies and solutions and support us to do that. So, I just bought tobacco from the supermarket.