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Never too old to make a change for the better

Wednesday 30 May 2018Media release2 minutes to read

Herewini Banks was 74 years old when she gave up smoking. She remembers the exact date and time she quit – 4.30pm on 15 July 2016. 

“It was three weeks before my birthday when I gave it up, so it's never too late to quit.”

Two years on from her decision to quit smoking, Herewini (Te Wheke, Takahanga and Tuahuriri) reflects on what life is like being Smokefree. 

“My clothes don't smell of smoke, my hair doesn't smell of smoke, my car doesn't smell of smoke” says Herewini. “And I have more money now, I can buy what I need at the shops.”

Describing herself as a “pretty hardcore smoker” Herewini says people are really surprised to hear she has given up.  “Most people are as pleased as punch when they find out but they are also pretty surprised.” 

For Herewini having others smoking around her hasn't been a problem. “I really thought it would be – but it hasn't.”  But she has discovered that getting frustrated is a trigger for her.  “Yesterday I was driving in the rain, it was hosing down and the window wiper was scraping across the window.  It was really irritating and I couldn't stop and do anything about it…boy did I ever want a cigarette then” she laughs, “but I would never consider getting one, the craving goes anyway.”

With the Rapaki Marae being Smokefree, Herewini remembers what it was like having to go off-site for a smoke.  “It used to be me that said ‘come on pariahs, let's go' when we had to go off-site for a smoke.  Now I have a bit of a giggle when I see them go off, I don't have to do the walk of shame.  I don't know if having the Marae Smokefree will make anyone quit but it could be easier for people who are trying to quit.”

So, to anyone thinking about giving up smoking – “think of your bank account and just do it, do it any way you can.”


World Smokefree Day is on Thursday 31st May 2018.

Free support to become Smokefree is available from Te Hā-Waitaha 0800 425 700 or go to


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Page last updated: 3 October 2018

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