Bespoke Māori vaccination events are succeeding in drawing out vaccine-hesitant whānau as New Zealand strives for 90 per cent coverage.
The attraction of such events for those still on the fence was evident throughout today's "Jab and Grab" vaccination event in South Auckland's Manukau, where hundreds gathered to get their jab.
Organised by local taitamariki (youth) support group Mā Te Huruhuru, the event was co-designed by young Māori in an attempt to boost low vaccination levels in that population.
As of Friday, only a tick over half of Māori aged 20-29 had received their first dose - a definitive outlier considering nearly all age, ethnic and gender demographics have achieved 70 per cent or higher.
The event was the brainchild of Mā Te Huruhuru's youth leadership group, which had formed following a five-week wānanga on the Covid vaccine.
Of the 50 wānanga participants, almost all strongly opposed vaccination. However, through regular kōrero with leading health professionals, it had seen almost all receive or commit to receiving the jab.
The youth-led aspect was a key factor for many who turned up for their vaccination, including 18-year-old Manurewa High School student Perise Anaua.
"When we were arriving, I saw a lot of kids my age and it felt comforting knowing that someone your age was here," she said.
About a dozen of the wider Anaua whānau had arrived for their first dose of the vaccine, having spent many months either against vaccination or undecided.
Danielle Anaua said it was important her tamariki and wider whānau knew it was safe to get vaccinated.
"Some of us stand divided and we want to show our family who are not wanting to get the vaccine that if we can get it, they can get it too."
She said online misinformation had been a strong deterrent to vaccination, unsettled by stories from overseas about reactions to the vaccine.
However, through considered research and relying on their faith, the whānau decided to vaccinate.
"Us, we work by God's timing and we felt that today was the time for us and we came together as one."
The event, situated on Lambie Dr, was an intimate but jovial scene. Music rang out across the carpark as people enjoyed free kai following their jab, including many of Mā Te Huruhuru's leadership group.
Nurse Nicole Andrews was onsite as part of her mahi with Manurewa Marae, which supported the vaccination event with its iconic Shot Cuzz mobile clinic.
Andrews, who had also been a key figure in Mā Te Huruhuru's wānanga, was ecstatic to see taitamariki who had formerly opposed vaccination, now accept it.
"I love it, I'm so proud of them," she said.
"It's just one step closer to protecting not only them, but their families."
Speaking from her experience vaccinating whānau at the marae, Andrews said events catered to whānau were necessary to attract those yet to decide on vaccination.
"This is what works, you bring food, you bring anything that's free, you bring our own people ... it's just familiar."