Members of an Auckland gang are doing the mahi to protect their whānau as the cruel realities of Covid-19 hit their community.
A number of Mangu Kaha Black Power members have organised "Vax in the Hood" - a mass vaccination and testing event in South Auckland tomorrow.
Thousands are expected to descend upon Mountfort Park in Manurewa for the event, from 10.30am to 7pm, with testing and vaccination services offered by Manurewa Marae staff.
Similar to a Black Power vaccination event in Rotorua, the day will be community-focused with live music, special guests and activities for the kids.
An array of kai and prizes will be available to those supporting the kaupapa, including 200 hāngī, 200 KFC packs, 200 gift vouchers and about $10,000 worth of Christmas presents.
Members of various gangs have been invited, indicating the collaborative approach many gangs have been taking on vaccination.
One of the central motivating factors behind tomorrow's event was the hurt Covid-19 had exacted on members of the gang's community, some of whom have tested positive.
"It's actually opened our people's eyes to Covid-19 and how it has affected whānau," Mangu Kaha president Nephi Peeni said.
Alongside the extensive preparation for tomorrow's event, Peeni and other members were becoming accredited to swab their whānau, through training provided by Māori GP Dr Rawiri Jansen.
Peeni said it was an effective way to empower the community and make whānau feel comfortable about testing.
"We're able to be in our people's faces and be there for them, not in the sense of we have to wait for someone else to [do it].
"For Māori and Pacific people, they can trust us and that's going to be proven this weekend."
He encouraged all those interested at attending tomorrow's event to have an open mind.
"Come with a good attitude and be willing to learn, it's about our people and for our people."
Rapper and DJ William Williams, also known as Evil Flows, will be one of many entertaining the crowd tomorrow.
Manurewa born and raised, Williams was glad the community could gather for a positive reason.
"It's been a long lockdown so it'll be good to have something Manurewa can come out for."
Jansen, who has participated in vaccination education sessions with gangs, commended the initiative.
"It's a responsible response and we want to support it," he said.
"It makes a significant difference for communities to be invited by their own community, it's compelling."
He was pleased to see many members put their hand up to help future testing efforts.
"They want to be involved and I'm happy to train people who want to be part of the solution."
Asked about the criticism gangs sometimes faced when organising such events, Jansen encouraged people to recognise the value of their participation in the rollout.
"Let's take the focus off gangs and acknowledge that there's a community, a network here that's interested in getting their people vaccinated, protecting their community.
"Let's welcome them to be part of our total vaccination programme, this is good news."