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Tapu whilst hapu

The importance of not drinking while trying to conceive or during pregnancy was the main messages of the Tairawhiti Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) poster competition.

A prizegiving was held at Tairawhiti Museum to celebrate International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day.

Competition organisers aimed to raise awareness about FASD, which is the most common cause of preventable intellectual disability in New Zealand.

Entries had to incorporate “tapu whilst hapu” into their poster design to highlight the importance of remaining alcohol-free when either trying to conceive or during pregnancy.

Ministry of Health guidelines indicate there is no safe level of alcohol that can be consumed while pregnant, as even small amounts may harm the unborn baby.

“Babies don’t mix with alcohol,” competition section winner Arianna Kupenga-Tamarama, 11, said.

“Drinking alcohol when you’re hapu will make babies have serious life-long problems, like needing caregivers for the rest of their lives. Mothers need to remember they are tapu whilst hapu, they are sacred and they are the kaitiaki (guardians) of te whare tangata (the house of humanity).”

Competition entrant Lilly Allen, 12, put her feelings on the subject in te reo Maori — “Mama kaua e unu i te wa keia koe he pepi i to puku. Haramai Aotearoa katoa ki awhiatia i tenei kaupapa.”

That translates to “Mums shouldn’t drink and steal time away from their baby while they are in your stomach. Come on New Zealand — get on board this topic.”

Competition judges were impressed with the standard and thought put into posters, said Turanga Health’s community action on youth and drugs co-ordinator Courtney Stubbins.

Overall winners were Arianna in the intermediate category, Toby Roseman in the high school category and Sophie Roseman in the 18 to 25 years category.

The two runners-up were Isabella Drake (intermediate) and Aiden Scragg (high school).

Certificates of merit were awarded to Lilly, O’Shae Rangihaeta, Makaia Allen, Romie Roseman and Rakai Allen.

Organisers thanked sponsors Turanga Health, Hauora Tairawhiti and Chrisp & Davidson for their generous sponsorship of the competition.

WINNING DESIGNERS: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness poster designers display their winning efforts. Arianna Kupenga-Tamarama won the intermediate section and Toby Roseman the high school section. Absent is Sophie Roseman whose 18 to 25 years section-winning poster is displayed right. Picture by Liam Clayton