Covid-19 vaccination rates for Māori in the Whanganui, Rangitīkei and Ruapehu districts are well behind the national rate for Māori.
Around the country, 82 per cent of eligible Māori have had their first dose of the vaccine and 68 per cent are fully vaccinated.
In the Whanganui District Health Board area, 13,500 Māori are eligible for vaccination. Nearly 10,300 (76 per cent) have had their first dose and nearly 8400 (62 per cent) are fully vaccinated with the two required doses.
A further 3781 vaccinations will be needed for Whanganui Māori to reach the government's 90 per cent target.
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The Pasifika population in the Whanganui DHB area is vaccinating faster, with 83 per cent getting their first dose and 71 per cent fully vaccinated.
A total of 1381 Pasifika in Whanganui are eligible for vaccination, with only 257 more vaccinations required to reach 90 per cent.
The Whanganui, Rangitīkei and Ruapehu districts will move into the red zone of the new Covid-19 traffic light framework from Friday and will stay there until at least December 13.
The government says it has taken strong account of vaccination rates and vulnerable populations in placing swathes of the North Island at red. Red gives extra protections against Covid-19 such as requiring vaccine passes and allowing fewer people to gather in high-risk settings.
Regions can be moved down to the orange settings, where there are no gathering limits for those with vaccine passes, when they achieve higher vaccination rates and have low case numbers.
Funding of $120 million is being distributed to support Māori communities to fast-track vaccination efforts, including $2.8 million for the Ranga Tupua iwi collective in the Whanganui, Rangitīkei and Ruapehu districts.
In total, 87 per cent of the eligible population in the Whanganui DHB area has received at least their first dose, and 78 per cent are fully vaccinated. A total of 6709 vaccinations are needed to reach 90 per cent.