Inclusive, accessible and just "fantastic" is how many in the Ngongotahā community are describing the new Covid contact tracing card.
More than 1100 Ngongotahā residents aged over 19 were issued the tracking cards, the first of its kind in the country, for a week-long trial to see if they could be an option nationwide.
The on-the-ground trial could enhance the Covid-19 contact tracing process, help health professionals understand how the card worked in a real-world scenario and determine if people would accept and use them.
Residents across the community were seen showcasing their cards worn on a lanyard or clipped to their belt throughout the day.
Ngongotaha Medical Centre practice manager Mike Ferris said the staff was in "full support" of the trial because it was more inclusive and accessible for those who may not have smartphones.
He said the Government app was useful but some people in their community "don't even have any kind of cellphone" so could not sign up for the QR code technology.
Having a record of where a person had been and letting them know if they had been in close contact with someone was vital in the fight against Covid-19, he said.
He said most of the staff had individually signed up for the trial and he was wearing his around his belt.
So far, the majority of people who had signed up for the trial were women aged between 40 and 74.
It exchanged signals with anyone nearby who was also wearing a contact tracing card, in what can be described as "a digital handshake".
Te Arawa Covid Response hub kaumatua Monty Morrison, who helped co-design the card, said the community feedback was "fantastic" but the work had only just begun.
He said after the trial wrapped up on Sunday, they would need to collate all the data to present to the Government.
It could be "some time" before they had an outcome and could roll the card out to the rest of the country.
The Ngongotahā community was "active" and had a lot of "spirit" with both rural and urban members, which made them perfect candidates for the trial, he said.
Te Arawa had decided to fully endorse the trial as they had seen "the benefits of contact tracing" and Māori were 50 per cent more likely to die from Covid-19, he said.
"We are [at] the worst end of every single health statistic. We want to put our best foot forward."
He said it was important that everyone taking part wear their cards and only take them off at bedtime. He was wearing his proudly and said he did not plan to take it off all day.
To roll out the card nationally would take six months at a cost of $98.5 million in the first year and $64m in the second. For it to be effective, at least three-quarters of the population would need to use one.
Ngongotaha Pharmacy co-owner Kirsty Croucher said the community had fully embraced the trial, with the majority proudly wearing their cards this morning.
She said the team who had rolled out the cards had been "engaging and helpful" and she thought that had made a difference.
"They have chosen a good place to do it."
Many had been quite happy to wear the cards and it was a good way to encourage inclusivity and take away the "frustration" of signing in without a QR code, she said.
St Barnabas Op Shop manager Lara Kenney said she had seen a number of customers coming in with the cards and she and the other volunteers all had them too.
She said as a shop in the centre of Ngongotahā, it "made sense" to get involved with the trial because they were constantly in contact with members of the community.
"We definitely wanted to be a part of it. It really proves what a tight-knit community we have here."
The card was not capable of tracking the wearer's location or identity and the information was fully contained, encrypted and protected on each individual card.
Its primary function was to build a memory of contacts so the wearer could be alerted if they had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19.
Ngongotahā was selected as an ideal location for the trial because it was big enough to have several marae, a school, shops and communities, and small enough that 1100 people was a significant percentage of the population.