A car and bike show is one of three events planned to help a Whangārei community raise $20,000 so children who are ineligible for free Meningococcal W vaccinations can be immunised.
The campaign to get kids vaccinated was started by Hikurangi local Shona Whitehead earlier this month after she discovered most of the young people in her community group had not been vaccinated against the deadly disease because they were aged between 5 to 12 - the age group currently not eligible for free immunisations.
Now three events have been organised to raise funds - including a car and bike show being held on April 28; a gold coin entry Glow Party on April 12; and a Dancing Decades event with a meal on April 13.
Hikurangi mother Ange Marsh, who is the co-founder of Wagon Mafia Car Club, is organising the Save Our Tamariki Show and Shine at Hikurangi Rugby Club next month to help raise funds.
"I have children - one that is immunised and one that is not immunised and I don't like the fact I'm made to choose between my children," she said.
"As soon as Shona and I started talking about this [campaign] I thought I could pull together to raise a lot of funds for it."
Three Northland deaths from the meningococcal W strain prompted a mass vaccination campaign by Northland District Health Board (NDHB), aimed at immunising children and youths aged between 9 months and 5 years - the vulnerable young children - or 13 and 20 years - the cohort of children who spread this disease the most.
But Whitehead said the Hikurangi community was particularly worried about Meningococcal W because 7-year-old local girl Alexis Albert died from the disease last year, and another boy who used to live in Hikurangi but had moved to Tauranga had also contracted it.
Knowing many families in her town struggle with poverty, she set a goal to raise $20,000 by the end of April so children at Hikurangi School who are not eligible for free vaccinations, can be vaccinated.
She said while she would not able to confirm the total amount fundraised to date until Wednesday, she believed it would be around $5000.
"I feel overwhelmed by the donations. I can't explain it. It's to protect our children," she said.
Whitehead has received support from Healthy Hikurangi, a community trust which will be the collecting and dispensing the funds, and Whangārei MP Dr Shane Reti who has offered to get the vaccines at absolute cost - about $90 - and also do the vaccinations himself.
For more information on the events, visit facebook.com/HelpTheChildrenHikurangi