Former Silver Fern Linda Vagana is pleading unvaccinated whānau to muster the courage to get vaccinated on Super Saturday, professing life is too short not to protect yourself and loved ones against Covid-19.
Vagana, a New Zealand representative for almost a decade until her 2004 retirement, is one of many sporting stars adding their voices to the pro-vaccination movement as the nation enters its day of vaccination - Super Saturday.
Across the country, 550 vaccination sites will be open in the hope more than 100,000 Kiwis get a vaccine to protect themselves against the Delta variant, currently spreading through Auckland and Waikato.
"To be honest, I think a lot more of us need to jump off the fence we're sitting on and encourage people to be vaccinated, life is too short," Vagana said.
The renowned defender isn't afraid to walk the walk. She, like thousands of others, will be working at a vaccination site today - the Tutū Fa'atasi Sāmoa centre at 4 Aeroview Drive in Auckland's Beach Haven.
Normally acting as an advocate for youth literacy with the Alan Duff Charitable Foundation, Vagana will instead be the MC for an event aimed at vaccinating Auckland's Sāmoan community and anyone else looking for a jab.
"I think Aucklanders just want to do their bit, to help businesses which are struggling and help individuals who need to engage with people again."
Vagana, 50, is fully vaccinated alongside all six members of her household bubble, including her 82-year-old father.
While her whānau had welcomed vaccination, Vagana knew well the risks of low immunisation levels - following the devastation caused by Sāmoa's measles outbreak of recent years.
"We were uneducated and had families who didn't want to [get vaccinated], we lost over 80 youngsters and we didn't have to."
New Zealand's current Delta outbreak had hit Pasifika whānau hard - particularly those in South Auckland with large household bubbles.
The country's latest victim to the virus was an active member of the Sāmoan church community in South Auckland.
Having lost her brother before the pandemic hit New Zealand in March 2020, Vagana firmly believed it was worth putting vaccine anxiety aside to ensure people and their whānau could enjoy life together, safe and healthy.
"It's really a chance to open up our country and hopefully people can open up their hearts and be a bit more open to being vaccinated."