Pasifika community members have been left hurt and distressed after being required to show their passport when receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations in the Bay of Plenty.
The Bay of Plenty District Health Board posted an apology on its Facebook page late on Sunday night.
"This is not our policy, nor a requirement, and we are deeply disappointed that this has happened.
"Our commitment is to ensure that we address the issues that led to this failure and ensure it absolutely does not happen again."
TVNZ reported on Sunday that a provider who tried to register Pasifika families for vaccinations on Friday was told by the Bay of Plenty DHB it wanted to see their passports to check if they were seasonal workers.
Speaking to one of the families involved, TVNZ said they were left distressed at the situation and wanted to withdraw from the vaccination programme altogether.
The Ministry of Health has made it clear there is enough of the Pfizer vaccine for everyone in New Zealand, despite citizenship or residential status. It is free to all of those living in New Zealand.
"We acknowledge, with regret, that this incident has affected trust and confidence in us among our Pasifika community. We have written to, and spoken with, our Pasifika provider partner today to express our apologies directly," the DHB continues.
"We are sorry."
The health board stated it would be meeting with community leaders on Monday to discuss how they could work together to "advance the health and wellbeing" of the region's Pasifika community.
Both Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall were unavailable for comment when approached by the Bay of Plenty Times, however, Verrall said on RNZ this morning the situation was "unacceptable".
"I can't imagine what the reason for asking for that would be," Verrall told RNZ.
"It certainly makes the people who we're calling to come in for vaccinations feel unwelcome and stigmatised and it should not happen.
"No one needs to bring their passport to get a vaccine or for any other interaction with the Covid response whether its testing, contact tracing or vaccination.
"We want everyone to be protected by the public health response irrespective of your immigration status."
Verrall said the Government had told the DHB that requesting passports was not the expectation.
A Ministry of Health spokesman confirmed there was no requirement for people to produce photo identification to get vaccinated.
"We want everyone to get vaccinated and there is no requirement to prove citizenship or to show a valid visa."
Identification was not required but staff would ask for people's name, date of birth and contact details. This would then be recorded in the Covid Immunisation Register (CIR).
"To be recorded in the CIR people must have a National Health Index (NHI) number. If they don't have an NHI number, one will be created when they are vaccinated.
"The creation of a unique NHI number for those people who may not already have one is an essential mechanism for the safety of the person with regards to their national record."
The NHI is unique to health and cannot be accessed by other agencies. It cannot be accessed by other Government agencies for immigration or tax purposes.
"It holds a different standing in government data, including not being part of any shared database," the spokesman said.
Last month, the DHB was left to apologise after a Covid-19 vaccine pamphlet was deemed racist and implied Māori were the virus.
The pamphlet featured cartoons of a virus with a mataora or full-face moko. Another image depicted a person stabbing a virus with a tewhatewha or spear.