How to Start a Community Action Group

Community action groups are powerful. It shows that certain kaupapa are so important, communities are willing to spend their own time and energies to focus on it.

How do you assist in growing a community action group? Find the following ingredients.

  • Find passionate people
  • Ensure the kaupapa affects their loved ones ( this ensures they are really really passionate)
  • Let them use your premises and stuff to have hui and get their messages out there
  • Support them

Question - Who would you listen to more? A person who is paid to reduce the incidences of tobacco use or a person who delivers the exact same message who does it for aroha. With the greatest respect to the tobacco control sector, if we can support communities to deliver these messages it is a far more powerful and potent voice when they come from communities. And of course when there is a ground swell of support for any kaupapa, it is in the best interest of any government to take notice.

Therefore we would encourage you to start or support community based initiatives that assist with the below kaupapa

  • Prevent smoking initiation
  • Promote smoking cessation
  • Prevent harm to non-smokers from second-hand smoke


Case Study: The Tūpeka Kore Action Group

Three young women who are smokers wanted to reduce access to tobacco so that it would decrease the likelihood of their own children and loved ones from smoking. They didn’t want to be smokers therefore they wanted to know what services to help them to quit were available. And they wanted to ensure their loved ones were not harmed by their smoking or by the smoking of others (what do you know, these are the 3 kaupapa above). They held a number of meetings with friends to develop a strategy. They then found a local dairy that sold single cigarettes when they were school aged and found that it continued to do so. They then uploaded a video to Youtube that demonstrated a local dairies illegal behaviour. This video was then sent to Native Affairs who saw a potential story. The story went national. Local enforcement agencies were put on notice and agreed to set up a community engagement partnership. The enforcement team and ministry are working together to stamp out the sales of single cigarettes, they will trial this in West Auckland with the intention to thread across the whole nation.

How did this all start?? From three young passionate women with a shared aspiration. Youtube Link

Homework for you: Think how we can  involve smokers to assist in the inspirational goal of a smokefree 2025?