The Wainuioamata community has sacrificed its marae for the rest of the year for the kaupapa of saving lives.
The first marae-based vaccination clinic in the Wellington Region opens in Wanuiomata, Lower Hutt this morning.
In order for a community of more than 15,000 to be vaccinated through the clinic this year, the Wainuiomata Community marae would be closed until Christmas.
Kōkiri Marae Health and Social Services general manager Teresea Olsen, whose team is running the vaccination programme, said the sacrifice was worth it.
"I think the kaupapa is really important," she said.
"The reason why we're closing the marae down is to save lives and I don't think you could have a better reason for shutting it down."
Olsen said the community marae was used by hundreds of people multiple times a week, for community events, weddings, whānau gatherings as well as school and Government events.
"Its name is Wanuiomata Community marae, and that is pretty significant in that it was set up for the community of Wainui."
She said it would be "really hard" not to have use of the marae, particularly for tangihanga.
"Probably as we get further into our programme it will become more and more evident to those that are wanting to use the marae how significant it is that the marae is closed down."
"People don't realise the impact until they need to use it for a particular thing, particularly for tangihanga."
People who lose a loved one during this time will likely have the tangi at home, Olsen said.
She said the time taken to set up the clinic and the security needed meant it was impossible to use the marae once the clinic had been established.
Wainuiomata Marae would be the only Covid-19 vaccination clinic in the community and everyone would be welcomed for their vaccination.
After opening today, the clinic would operate three days a week initially while they assessed the demand in the community.
"There will be a warm welcome for everyone to come as first Group 3, and then Group 4 become eligible for vaccination over the coming months," Olsen said.
"People throughout the community will be contacted and invited to come in to be vaccinated in turn."
She said transport could be provided to elderly or disabled people who had difficulty accessing the clinic, and they could contact the DHB for assistance and information on this.