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Wellington shop owner praised for not selling cigarettes in his store

By Piripi Taylor
  • Wellington
A shop owner at Cannons Creek in Wellington was praised for banning the sale of cigarettes and tobacco in his shop. 
It's believed that he is the first shop owner in New Zealand to take this stance as he feels for the many children in his area whose parents are dying from smoking-related illnesses, many of whom are also burdened by poverty. 
Across the way from Cannons Creek School is a dairy similar to most dairies around the country. The difference with the store amongst this block of shops is that it doesn't sell cigarettes.
Bobby-Jo Rangi-White says, "I popped into one of the dairies here to buy some cigarettes and he turned around and said oh we dont sell cigarettes and I said wow, I've never heard of that before."
The shop owner wasn't keen on speaking to us on camera today as he didn't want to bring any untoward attention to his shop or the stance he's taken. The well being of his community his only desire.
Petelo Alosio says, "We're not a rich community and thats a reality, so this gentleman, this shop owner, we love him. I think he's doing his part to promote the healthy, safer and happier community in Cannons Creek."
Selling smokes earns big bucks in New Zealand. Of the approximate $1.6 billion per year retail spending on tobacco products, approximately 30% of that goes into the pockets of shop owners. 
Rangi-White says, "For him to not only give food to the school, he also sacrifices the money he could be generating from cigarettes to show support for the children."
So the journey to a smokefree New Zealand in 2025 has begun in Porirua, led by a shopkeeper who shall remain anonymous to the rest of us in NZ, but considered a legend in his community. 
Alosio says, "We definitely need more people to have that pro-active approach and we love him."