Over the weekend, I had a Zoom call with mates in Auckland. It was nice, we had a drink "together", talked rubbish about this and that, the All Blacks versus South Africa rugby Test and tried to be funny. It's not as easy on a Zoom call as when you're physically together. Many jokes fell flat or weren't heard properly.
There were some grumbles about the length of time they had been locked down, but they seemed in good spirits, at home with their families, balancing work with domestic chores and keeping the kids happy.
All of them were recently fully vaccinated or due their second soon, like myself.
Within weeks 70-80 per cent of us over the age of 12 could be fully vaccinated. That will mean a lot of us will be pretty safe from the virus. The pace that we've ended up getting vaccinated has been impressive.
What I took from the Zoom call with my friends was a sense that there was light at the end of the Covid tunnel.
There's hope, especially for Aucklanders, that lockdowns will soon be a thing of the past. And if vaccinated, that prospect holds no fear or apprehension.
And yet, this is a tricky time, and a lot of our good work could be undone, unravelling very quickly.
I'm very worried about the comparatively low rates of vaccination amongst some communities in Tai Tokerau.
I'm worried that there seems to be higher resistance to getting vaccinated among Māori.
There must be multiple reasons for that. Maybe Māori leaders can put their finger on it.
Whatever the reasons for hesitancy - among anyone in the population, Māori or non-Māori - we have to give these people more time to come round to the idea of getting vaccinated.
It may be difficult to acknowledge, but the gap between Pākehā and Māori rates of vaccination in Northland is substantial. The figures on the Ministry of Health website are stark. There is a problem.
And so, those of us who are or soon will be double-vaccinated need to be very generous to Māori who aren't yet, for whatever reason.
That means resisting calls for the pace of opening up to be increased.
As far as I've noted, those calls are coming exclusively from white middle-class politicians, business people or commentators in the media. That's an uncomfortable bias.
Yes, some businesses are hurting, and there's political mileage to be gained by voicing their concerns. This is why National and ACT are putting pressure on the Government to end lockdowns quicker and reopen borders in time for Christmas.
Some commentators in the media have been even blunter in their assessment that everyone's had enough time to get vaccinated, so let's get "moving again".
At one level, this is just political points-scoring, of claiming our ideas are a better road map than the Government's ideas. All with the safety net of not having to make the hard decisions and live with the consequences and the political fallout if it all goes wrong.
It's easy to make criticisms without responsibility. I should know, I do it all the time writing this column.
For what it's worth, I'm making a plea to vaccinated, middle-class Pākehā like myself. Give our health workers, our iwi and hapu leaders more time to get Māori vaccination rates up to the levels needed to prevent intolerably high incidences of illness and death.
If it requires many vaccination buses and door-knocking from trusted faces, then it must be done. If it pushes back the easing of lockdowns or the opening of our borders until after Christmas, then so be it.
To not allow this grace could be a disaster for some communities. Our collective pride in how we've coped with Covid will have an underlying shame if a far greater proportion of Māori end up succumbing to the virus.
• Northern Advocate columnist Vaughan Gunson writes about life and politics.