This year marks the inaugural year of the Dame Tariana Turia Award for tobacco control. Hāpai Te Hauora and the Cancer Society of New Zealand – Te Kahui Matepukupuku Aotearoa have launched the award in honour of our most fearless and untiring advocate, who championed the most significant tobacco control legislation in our country’s history, all from a minority party position within Government.

Some achievements of Dame Tariana include:

  • Excise tax increases
  • Banning retail displays
  • Introducing plain packaging
  • Reduced duty free allowances
  • Promotion of smokefree cars
  • $20m ‘Innovation Fund’ for smoking cessation projects

While actions of Dame Tariana have benefitted all New Zealanders, she has been a special advocate for Māori. She fought for acknowledgement of tobacco’s disproportionate impact on Māori, and the identification of tobacco control as an issue of inequality.

This award therefore recognises that some of the gains in health and wellbeing from smoking reduction have been inequitably distributed. This pattern is consistent across our Pacific nations, with indigenous peoples still suffering disproportionately from tobacco related harm.

This should be an urgent concern for public health advocates internationally, not only for this generation but the next. Today’s smokers will suffer more preventable illnesses with reduced life span and life quality. The children of mothers who smoke now will carry the burden of tobacco’s legacy into the next generation, with increased risk of preventable illness and poorer life outcomes.

This award is in recognition of this challenge, to ensure that the gains from tobacco reduction are shared equitably between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

We encourage nominations from anyone who works in tobacco control, and whose work displays the following:

  • Significant contribution to achievement in indigenous tobacco control outcomes at a local, regional or international level that has had an impact at population level.
  • Skills and success in generation and/or implementation of evidence, policies and public and political support for indigenous tobacco control needs.
  • Persistence in the face of opposition and criticism in regards to indigenous people and their rights to a tobacco free generation.

Nominations close 1 September 2017

A selection panel of Māori, Aboriginal, Pacific and Torres Strait Island tobacco control experts will announce the winner at the biennial Oceania Tobacco Control Conference in October. For more details see: http://www.otcc2017.org.au

More detail on the award and selection process can be found here