makara patapa / Quit Smoking Storytelling Project

Blak Led Tours Tasmania was contracted by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre to undertake a storytelling project around the makara patapa/quit smoking program offered by the Aboriginal Health Service.


Goals of the project were for Aboriginal people to hear stories about smoking cessation; For TAC service providers to understand the long-term and holistic approach taken by the service. This was to be achieved through the creation of enduring resources to support the program, delivered through as many mediums as possible, across the 3-regions.

The storytelling project centred around the theme of Good smoke/bad smoke – contrasting the ways Aboriginal community use smoke and fire culturally (for gatherings, cooking, caring for country, ceremony, cleansing etc) to the use of cigarettes.

Podcast Series

12 Podcasts episodes were recorded and edited. These feature 14 community members’ stories and speak to the approach taken by the Aboriginal Health Service to support quitting. Of those episodes, five were recorded from staff and community in Launceston, five from Hobart and two from Burnie. These included stories from the smoking cessation worker as well as a doctor from the Aboriginal Health Service, both explaining the supports offered and the approach taken by the organisation.

These can be listened to on the TAC Website Here.


Good smoke / bad smoke promotional films and Art work

Three promotional films and two visual art pieces were commissioned to speak to this theme and refer people to the enduring resources created – the podcast series and written element. These highlight the culturally based and holistic approach taken by the Aboriginal Health Service as the peak Aboriginal health organisation in lutruwita/Tasmania.

Good Smoke / Bad Smoke Artwork by Rod Gardner
Good Smoke/ Bad Smoke Artwork by Rob Braslin

Quit support Journal

A quit smoking support journal was also created, and 250 copies printed for the first run. The journal design is based off the artwork created for the project and follows the theme of good smoke/bad smoke using pictures of cultural burns from the TAC land management program.

The journal includes 10 activities designed to prepare community for their quit attempt as well 14 days of check in and support activities once the attempt is underway. The journal refers to the podcasts for extra information and highlights the supports offered by the Health Service throughout, encouraging the user to make appointments with the relevant staff across the organisation and check in with the smoking cessation worker.

Community Launch Event

The program was launched to community at a cultural fire camp that took place across the weekend of the 17th and 18th September 2022. The camp had 50 people in attendance form across Lutruwita/Tasmania. The artwork and films were shown, and the journal and podcasts series were introduced, this was followed by a cook up over the fire. 


ABC radio also did a story on the launch further promoting the storytelling project.

click to enlarge

 An added benefit of this project was that this storytelling project was completely led and managed by Aboriginal people, 13 Aboriginal community stories were recorded for the podcast.

Of the eight contractors that received payments for the delivery for this project, were Aboriginal people and businesses – including in the recording and editing of the podcast, art commission and caterers for the launch event. A further three community members (one from each region) received funds for their participation in the story sharing.