Pubs and clubs from Bluff to Kaitaia will be pausing their pokies for an hour during Gambling Harm Awareness Week, 3-9 September 2018.
The campaign is being run by the Problem Gambling Foundation, Mapu Maia (Pacific Counselling Service) and Asian Family Services, as well as several community partners including Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu CHaritable Trust, Te Ara Tika Tairawhiti Gambling Services, te Rangihaeata Oranga Trust, Nga Manga Puriri Northland Gambling Support Services and the Salvation Army Oasis.
Andree Froude, Communications Director at the Problem Gambling Foundation, says over 60 venues are signed up to take part which is an outstanding result.
"The awareness week starts with 15 of the 17 venues in Invercargill pausing their pokies in the morning which is amazing." she says.
"We are thrilled that so many venues and pokie trusts are supporting our campaign and agreeing to turn off their pokies for an hour in recognition of gambling harm in Aotearoa."
Andree Froude says the national theme for Gambling Harm Awareness Week is 'take time out from gambling, put time into whanau' so gamblers will be encouraged to take a break from their gambling and connect with whanau.
"We are hoping that pausing the pokies will also allow gamblers to think about their gambling and it may lead to people seeking help from a local service if they are experiencing harm or know someone that is," she says.
"Pokies are the most harmful form of gambling and are more likely to be found in the more deprived communities in New Zealand. There are five times as many pokies in the most deprived areas so gambling continues to impact heavily on the more vulnerable communities, and in particular Māori and Pacific peoples."