Story: Māori smoking, alcohol and drugs – tūpeka, waipiro me te tarukino
Before Europeans arrived, Māori were one of the few societies in the world that did not use intoxicants. There was no local equivalent of tobacco, alcohol or recreational drugs. After Europeans introduced tobacco to New Zealand, it was quickly taken up by Māori. In the 2000s the Māori smoking rate was still more than twice that of non-Māori. Early reactions to alcohol were less positive – Māori dubbed it waipiro (stinking water) or wai kaha (strong water), and communities attempted to control access to liquor.