Fay Selby- Law has been a pillar in the smokefree sector in Manawatu for multiple decades, chanelling her energy and comittment to supporting whānau, particularly wahine and māmā, in becoming smokefree. She now applies this wealth of experience ‘on the ground’ to her role at Hāpai te Hauora as SUDI (Sudden Unexplained Death of Infant) General Manager. Her passion for tupeka kore still continues today as she supports the training and assesment for stop smoking practitioners through NTS (National Training Service). 

Ki te taha o toku koroua
Ko Horouta, ko Tainui nga waka
Ko Marotiri, ko Tararua nga maunga
Ko Mangahauini, ko Manawatu nga awa
Ko Ngati Porou, Ko Ngati Raukawa ki te tonga te iwi
Ko Te Whānau a Ruataupare, ko Ngati Huia nga hapū
Ko Pakirikiri, ko Huia nga marae

Ki te taha o toku kuia
Ko Tainui te waka 
Ko Hikungangara, ko Tararua nga maunga
Ko Rangitikei, ko Hokio nga awa
Ko Ngati Raukawa ki te tonga te iwi
Ko Ngati Parewahawaha, ko Ngati Pareraukawa nga hapū.

What is your history in the smokefree sector?
I feel like smokefree is something that has always been who I am. It’s the way I live and breathe rather than a sector. I think we all have rights whether we smoke or not and mine is about having smokefree air around me.

I worked for my iwi at Te Runanga o Raukawa from 1995 to 2001 as a kaiāwhina in Whanau-Tamariki Ora and then in Mother & Pepe Support, looking after teenaged mothers and mothers who’d had a previous difficult hapūtanga. I was also nursing part-time in the Neo Natal Unit at Palmerston North Hospital and constantly seeing the affects of smoking in premature pēpi and wanting to help parents make a change. There was a kōrero at the time, ‘Don’t tell me why, show me how.’ I was able to determine to help out. 

My first stop smoking training was organised by Marilyn McKay which I applied as a new Quit Coach, which I loved.

In 2010 after a review and desire to look at a different model Te Ohu Auahi (TOAM) came into existance. A Collective of Maori and Iwi provider and invited partner Central PHO formed an alliance to provide the MidCentral DHB stop smoking contract. And I ‘won’ the  privilege of being their first Kaiarahi. 

We worked on a new model focussing on being clinically savy and Whanau Ora focussed to ensure whanau who were smoking tobacco got a service and they determined their own moemoea. They set their goals using the 6 Te Ara Whanau Ora and TOAM provided the support and NRT. We tried and tested a range of projects and ideas to increase the uptake and improve our quit rates. 

We partnered with ‘all sorts’ who have tried a range of stop smoking ideas, WERO Challenge, (a team incentivised approach) Dr Marewa Glover, Enjoy Nicotine (free range of NRT including QuitMist & NRT Inhalator for 18 weeks) Dr Brent Caldwell, Whakahau Ora (Incentivised hapū mama) Smokefree 2025 Innovation Fund, Pharmacy Project (free NRT & referral to TOAM) with any medication from a pharmacy. 

TOAM has never limited itself in its desire to provide whanau who smoke and live in the MidCentral DHB the opportunity to have a supported quit attempt of their choosing. Its employed a range of people across variable ages, ethinicities and experiences. Its been dynamic and worked hard to get some success. 

And then an opportunity came my way to bring together all my work and life experiences together and come across to the SUDI Prevention space and so here I am.


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?
I’m currently reading ‘Like moths to the flame’; the story of Ngati Raukawa resistance and resilience by Ani Mikaere and published by Te Wananga o Raukawa. I recommend it. Go online and purchase it – at $20 its a steal.

Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
Every person who smoked cigarettes and stopped. It is one of the cruelist of addictions. So hard to stop and so disempowering. It keeps its users tied to it and then so often they die early and painfully. Maori have lost much in terms of our mātauranga because of it. And its not ours, it belongs to another. 


Do you have whakataukī that you resonate with most? 
Te amorangi ki mua, te hapai o ki muri- the leader at the front and the workers behind the scenes. A reminder that both jobs are equally important and without either, everything would fail.