Motivated by her pregnancy, Naomi Te Kiri has successfully quit smoking. Photo: Jonty Dine

Quitting for baby – ‘I know I can do anything I can set my mind to’


Reihana-Paenga will be born in about five weeks into a smoke-free home after mother Naomi Te Kiri committed to quit cigarettes for her baby.

Naomi is now completely tobacco-free as she prepares for the birth of her first child.

The 24-year-old had been a heavy smoker since her late teens, spending at least $120 a week on cigarettes.

She was stressed, depressed and constantly thinking about money for her next smoke.

But when Naomi found out she was going to be a mother, she vowed to quit.

“I want to create an environment for my baby where smoking is not ok. I don’t want her growing up thinking it’s ok, there are other tools to use when you’re stressed.”

She says it was the biggest challenge of her life.

“It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I am a lot happier now.”

Naomi sought the guidance of quit coach Sonia Hepi Treano at Te Piki Oranga.

“You need that support behind you, you can’t do it on your own, having a quit coach really helped me.”

Naomi says seeing the results on the breathalyser was a big motivator, as well as receiving grocery vouchers after reaching certain smoke-free milestones.

Naomi has both seen and felt the benefits.

“I’m able to breathe better during my exercise. Now I can walk twice up the Tamaki Steps and I have more money to buy the things I need for baby.”

Naomi says vaping has been a crucial tool in her journey but says it is not a long-term solution.

At 35 weeks pregnant, Naomi is still working at the Honest Lawyer Pub and recently registered to study at NMIT as she works toward becoming a social worker.

Sonia says, after the baby is born, mothers often relapse as they think ‘my body is my own again’, not to mention a host of new stresses.

However, Naomi is confident she will remain smoke-free post-partum.

“I’m fluent in saying ‘no’ now.”

Naomi was further motivated by her father who has been smoke-free for a year and a half.

“I’ve looked up to him, I thought ‘if he can do it then I can’.”

She has some sage advice for others looking to quit. “Be determined and stay positive, keep a routine.”

To recognise her achievement, Naomi was gifted a flax basket designed for burial of the whenua (placenta) and pito (umbilical cord).

Smokefree Team Leader at Nelson Marlborough Health, Kelly Atkinson, was on hand to make the presentation.

“It’s a huge step and commitment to protect their pepe.”

Naomi says, now that she has overcome her tobacco addiction, she has more self belief than ever.

“I know I can do anything I can set my mind to and I know I’m going to be a good mum.”