One of the vaccine rollout's chief commentators says the overwhelming success of Mangu Kaha Black Power's vaccination event in South Auckland today should inform the Government how to reach the unvaccinated.
Hundreds of whānau arrived at Manurewa's Mountfort Park today organised by the gang, which had been motivated by stories from their community about the realities of Covid-19.
By 11am, more than 100 had been vaccinated or were waiting in line - a quantity almost unheard of at community vaccination drives at this point in the rollout.
The endeavour, supported by Manurewa Marae's vaccination and testing staff, was also festive - with free kai, giveaways, music and entertainment for the kids.
Terau Tukua, 65, came along and received his second dose in a show of support for his son, who was working at the event.
Manurewa locals Tongi and Eden also made their way through the vaccination line, for their first and second doses respectively.
Tongi accepted she had previously been very hesitant of vaccination but after learning vaccination would be the key to many freedoms, she had changed her mind.
"I was an antivaxxer, I really didn't want to get it, but it I've got kids [overseas] so if I have to fly out and go somewhere, I have to get vaccinated."
The pair both referenced how comfortable they felt at the event, noting its atmosphere seemed quite different to other centres they had visited or been told about.
"The vibe is purely whānau and helping out, that's what it is," Eden said.
"It's good because we're doing it as a community."
Speaking to the Herald this morning, Mangu Kaha president Nephi Peeni said more work was needed, but he was glad to see the community turn out for the event.
"I'll be happy when the job's done, we've still got heaps of mahi [to do]," he said.
"I'm happy that everyone's here, enjoying themselves."
Māori GP Dr Rawiri Jansen, who was onsite to assist event organisers, said the response from the community was outstanding and credited the gang's leadership for their mahi.
"It's a response I haven't seen for a little while and it tells me we are reaching into a community we haven't served yet," he said.
"Trusting the leadership, trusting Nephi to say, 'I've got this, I can bring [people] here', that makes such a difference."
Asked what the Ministry of Health and DHBs could learn from this event, Jansen said the answer concerned trust.
"If you want to be trusted, you've got to be trustworthy.
"We want to be worthy of their trust and they've asked us to come along and support their events, let's be trustworthy because we've got some work to do."