Whanganui is one of the top 20 fastest districts in the Covid-19 vaccination rollout.
As part of our Top Towns project, the NZ Herald and Whanganui Chronicle have obtained data released by the Ministry of Health, detailing the vaccination rollout in each of the country's 67 local authorities.
According to that data, Whanganui DHB is sitting in 17th place when it comes to the rollout, above the national average.
Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said he's happy with the district's position, particularly more so when we're above the national average.
"I know we were number one for a while, so we've slipped down a bit, but I'm pretty happy where we are.
"I'm really keen to encourage everyone to get inoculated. I've had my first, and I'm getting my second in the next couple of weeks, and I'll be taking my kids along too.
"I know there are some people nervous about it, but you're not doing it for yourself, you're doing it for the entire community - particularly our most vulnerable."
Meanwhile, further up the road, Ruapehu District is placed 64th of the 67 territorial authorities for the number of residents fully vaccinated.
The area is served by two District Health Boards, Whanganui and Waikato, which cover separate ends of the district.
Taumarunui falls within the Waikato DHB boundary, while the south of the district including the towns of Raetihi, Waiouru and Ohakune are covered by Whanganui DHB.
Rangitīkei MP Ian McKelvie, whose electorate captures the Ruapehu and Rangitīkei Districts, says that it's likely the statistics could be put down to increased hesitancy.
"What I think happens in places like Taumarunui is you've got an inherent distrust in government. That might sound a bit strong, but the more remote you get in New Zealand, I think the least trust you have in what the central authority wants you to do.
McKelvie said the answer was getting community leaders, independent of government, out in the community spreading the benefits of the vaccine.
In the southern part of Ruapehu District, the vaccine rollout is being led by Ngāti Rangi, which is hosting twice-weekly clinics between Raetihi and Ohakune.
Ngāti Rangi pou hautū/operations manager Elijah Pue said there had been a growing anti-vax campaign across the district.
"Yes, I think it's an issue we're seeing comparatively low numbers of people coming through our doors, but we're doing our absolute best to spread the message."
Pue said the iwi was working hard on a communications campaign to boost the vaccination message, but agreed with McKelvie that a campaign of community leaders could also be valuable.
The Rangitīkei District is sitting 42nd place, with only 41 per cent of its population fully vaccinated.
Similar to Ruapehu, the Rangitīkei is split between two DHBs, with Whanganui taking most of the district, while MidCentral captures a small portion.
Rangitīkei Mayor Andy Watson, who is double vaccinated, said it was his hope the district could climb higher than 42.
"We have an absolute responsibility not only to ourselves, but our community. The vaccine works," Watson said.
Watson said that part of the difficulty could be the location of the district, as well as the make-up of the health system locally.
"Maybe the reason we're sitting low is literally the remote nature of our district. We have huge land area, and travel is possibly an issue associated with that.
"Some of our areas don't have access to a daily newspaper, for example, so getting the message out can be more difficult."