Tobacco control

Healthy living powers up wāhine toa in national rugby competition

25 Feb 2022

A new super rugby partnership with Te Hiringa Hauora | Health Promotion Agency will place health and wellbeing as the winner on the day, when the competition whistle blows next week.

Te Hiringa Hauora is teaming up with three Sky Super Rugby Aupiki teams at this year’s inaugural women’s super-rugby competition to be played in Taupō and Hamilton.

The Blues (Northland - Auckland), Hurricanes Poua (Wellington, Horowhenua-Kāpiti, Manawatu, Wairarapa, Whanganui, Hawkes Bay, Poverty Bay, East Coast) and Matatū (South Island) franchises will display branding on their uniform and share wellbeing messages on signs and digital media. The clubs have also agreed not to directly use alcohol industry branding.

“Sport is a healthy, positive activity that attracts thousands of people of all ages: players, administrators, fans and community. It plays a big role in influencing the health of New Zealanders because of the sheer number of people involved,” says Derek Thompson, Manager Alcohol Policy and Advice, Te Hiringa Hauora.

Andrew Hore, Blues CEO sees the opportunity as a revolutionary partnership.

“It showcases the power of sport and our wāhine to be strong role models and deliver important messages throughout our community. We’re proud to work with Te Hiringa Hauora to promote such a strong campaign for the greater good.”

It is a sentiment Sarah Munro, General Manager, Matatū shares.

“Matatū and Te Hiringa Hauora have a wonderful alignment on values, particularly around creating positive connections (tūhono) with the community. As a club, and team, we are so proud to wear the QuitStrong brand on our jersey, and we look forward to inspiring everyone we represent to make healthy choices”

Hurricanes Poua CEO, Avan Lee, echoed the sentiments of the three Super Rugby Aupiki Clubs involved.

“The partnership with Te Hiringa Hauora is very special to us because sport has an important role to assist and influence the health of Kiwis. Our wahine toa are revered all around the world but a focus on community and well-being in Aotearoa is most critical.”

The partnership will be focused on encouraging healthier life choices and ensuring that sport is a channel for positive exposure, especially for young Māori and Pasifika who are exposed to alcohol marketing at rates 5 and 3 times higher, respectively, than Pākehā children.

Whether reducing alcohol or tobacco harm, Te Hiringa Hauora is committed to wellbeing, says Sue Slater, Manager Wellbeing Through Prevention.

“QuitStrong is a well-established brand with a priority audience of wāhine Māori aged 18-34. As wāhine Māori still have our highest smoking rates, there’s a natural link. At the end of the day, the big win here is replacing alcohol sponsorship with health.”

The Sky Super Rugby Aupiki is a vital step towards the Black Ferns. The competition starts on Saturday 5 March 2022.

Te Hiringa Hauora supports the staged phasing out of all alcohol advertising and sponsorship and has published a position paper on this.