Porirua's Pacific community has turned up to be vaccinated by the carload, with queues forming a kilometre down the road from the region's drive-through vaccination clinic.
The Ora Toa Covid-19 drive-through vaccination clinic is open from 10am-2pm at North City Plaza undercover carpark in Porirua.
But people have been waiting since 8am. At one point cars were backed up to Te Rauparaha Arena, stretching a kilometre down the road.
Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley District Health Boards chief executive Fionnagh Dougan confirmed the queue was closed before 2pm, because there were enough people to be vaccinating beyond the planned closing time.
The clinic has more than enough vaccine supply and has not run out, Dougan said.
Anyone arriving after the queue was closed was redirected around the corner to the Community Vaccination Centre at Lydney Place North, Dougan said.
"This Porirua clinic is our second drive-through clinic pilot, and we are actively working towards organising further drive-through clinics across our region in the coming days."
While the drive-through clinic would be operating for several days, Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs Pacific Health director Junior Ulu said it was important Pacific and Māori communities were prioritised.
"We know that when you open the floodgates these are the minority groups that get lost," he said.
"So the DHB has put on this day today and we've prioritised Māori, Pacific. It's on actually for the next three days but we have prioritised Māori, Pacific and disability today."
Pacific people made up a large proportion of the people infected in the current Covid-19 outbreak, which plunged the country back into alert level 4 restrictions last week.
Ulu said prior to lockdown work had already been under way to improve vaccination rates among the Pacific population.
"We went out to churches and set up festival days – there was Pacific music, there was food," he said.
"It felt like a bit of a function, like an Island wedding, and that was the vibe we were after."
While the festival days had been a success, the sudden shift to lockdown restrictions forced them to rethink their strategy.
"Then alert level 4 happened and we had to re-focus our efforts, and think 'how do we do this, given the number of positive cases that are Pacific, how do we prioritise them and do it under alert level 4 restrictions?' "
Ulu said the clinic had been a team effort from health authorities and community leaders.
"We reached out to our communities and we said to them 'if we put this on, you bring your people and we'll do the heavy lifting and get all the right partners on board'," he said.
"I put a call out in an email the day before yesterday and 62 staff responded within 12 hours, and they're out there today.
"We all have to put aside our titles and just muck in and get this done.
"And so the community has come."
The drive-through clinic would be open for eligible populations until 2pm.
People did not need to book for an appointment, but there was a limit of four people per car.