Makere Wano was a bridge between Maori and Pakeha worlds

Makere Wano was a pioneer in working with marae based smoking cessation programmes.

Makere Wano was a pioneer in working with marae based smoking cessation programmes.

Makere Wano had no qualms about approaching smokers in the street and suggesting they give up.

Wano, who had a varied career in the health sector, died on February 9 aged 83. 

A nurse, Wano moved into the community sphere where she became a health promoter and led smoking cessation programmes aimed at reducing the high rates of Maori smoking, son Hayden Wano said.

"She had some success with that."

Her programme involved taking the smokers onto the marae at Parihaka and supporting them through the initial phase, he said.

"She had good rates for people who had stopped smoking for longer than six months and that gave her a bit of a national profile and iwis in other regions adapted her programme for their use."  

Puna Wano-Bryant said her grandmother was one of the pioneers, nationally, in the Auahi Kore, smoking cessation, programme.    

"If she saw people smoking she would bowl up to them and tell them what's what. She'd offer them support, of course, rather than just the harsh words."

From Pungarehu, her grandmother was a coastal girl at heart, she said.

"She was strong in her Maori Catholic faith and a bridge between Maori and Pakeha communities. She was fearless and straight up the guts, but gracious and always had a solution. Kuikui was pure love in abundance, she never ran out of love for her family and the people she served. She was challenging, but you always felt safe with her."

In her early career Wano was a nurse at Hawera Hospital, working in maternity and surgical.

Her longstanding career in health morphed into working in the newly established Maori public health system in the 1990s, she said. 

This included running cultural awareness programmes and being a founding trustee in Te Whare Punanga Korero, a committee of iwi representatives from around the mountain who worked with the Taranaki DHB.

And in her role as cervical screening nurse, she would take her equipment out to Maori communities in remote rural areas, to reach woman who were not confident to come into town, Wano-Bryant said.

Wano was a trustee on the Maori Heart Foundation and worked with Te Rau Pani, the Maori Mental Health Unit, until she retired in her mid 70s.

Wano and husband John had six children Hayden, the late Hinenui, Tunui, Wharehoka, the late Te Kauhoe, and Troy. And she was kuikui to 35 mokopuna.





 - Stuff

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