The name of the programme, He Manu Kokiri, refers to a legend about a flock of birds which helped each other in getting to their desired destination.
About 30 people, of ages ranging between 21 and 86, have already signed up to the recently launched He Manu Kokiri programme. The name of the programme, refers to a legend about a flock of birds which helped each other in getting to their desired destination. In line with the legend, the programme gives a lot of importance to social support in achieving one’s goal as many smoke to cope with feelings of anxiety, or anger, and loneliness. “A problem shared is a problem halved,” said General practitioner Kim Maiai.

Each patient is offered tools to deal with mental and emotional roadblocks, learn healthier ways of living, and have access to personal support. They are also given an NRT, as well as free access to the Headspace app. “It is a very holistic thing, quitting smoking — it is mind, body and soul,” said Health improvement practitioner Sarah Redfearn.

A lifestyle upgrade

General practitioner Kim Maiai said that the programme offers a lifestyle upgrade in a non-judgemental way. He added that there are benefits even for those who do not reach their smoking cessation goal, as via the programme they will gain other important health and wellbeing skills, as it is designed to build not only mental flexibility but also physical resilience.

Health coach Ilai Elekana Manu, who runs the gym, community garden and walking group, said that people may attend the gym alone or may choose to avail form a personalised programme. He added that besides physical activity this would be an opportunity to meet others who are on the same journey.

When patients complete the four weeks, their hard work would be celebrated with a barbecue that their family can attend, said community support worker David Reedy, who handles referrals to the programme. “It is not easy — that’s why we want to celebrate it.”

He emphasized that does not stop once a patient completes their four-week programme. One may repeat the programme and there is also the available option of having home visits for anyone requiring further support.

Read Further: Otago Daily Times

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