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Health Research Council Funding for Research about Maori Nurses and Smoking

7 June 2012:

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is pleased that the Health Research Council (HRC) is funding an important research project, “Māori nurses and smoking – exploring the context and opportunity for change”. The project is a joint venture between Te Runanga o Aotearoa NZNO, Whakauae Research for Māori Health and Development and Auckland University of Technology and will develop tools to help Māori nurses quit smoking.

Researchers working with the project include two Māori nurses who have extensive experience working in the field of Māori health research; Dr Heather Gifford and Associate Professor Denise Wilson. They will be working with NZNO researcher Dr Léonie Walker to carry out the research. 

Dr Walker says, “I’m delighted with the HRC funding! In the current climate of tight funding, this grant recognises the importance of the work.”

“The project will use kaupapa Māori research methods to design interventions with Māori nurses to help them quit smoking. It is the first of a two-phase project to design new interventions that are specific to and informed by the experiences of smokers themselves. We will work closely with Māori nurses who smoke and will recruit participants from across the country and within a range of sectors,”

NZNO kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku says the research funding is fantastic news, “We have known for some time that Māori nurses’ smoking rates are much higher than they should be. Finding out why that is and developing ways to help nurses quit will have wider health benefits than just for the individuals who stop smoking.”

“Nurses are role models. Research shows advice and support from nursing staff can increase people’s success in quitting smoking, especially in a hospital setting. It is hoped Māori nurses, in particular, can play a role in dramatically improving quit rates amongst Māori, who bear the greatest burden of ill health and death caused by smoking.

“By using the information we gather in constructive and positive ways we can go some way towards undoing the terrible damage caused by the tobacco industry over past decades. Rather than punishing Māori nurses who smoke, we can work together towards a healthier future for Aotearoa,” Nuku says.


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