18 Oct 2021

Covid-19: Tairāwhiti raises $100,000 for vaccine van

From Morning Report, 7:48 am on 18 October 2021

An organiser of a Givealittle campaign for mobile vaccinations in Tairāwhiti is stunned New Zealanders contributed more than $100,000 to the campaign.

With only 912 jabs, the Tairāwhiti region had the lowest turnout for Super Saturday, so Te Aroha Kanarahi Trust set up a GiveaLittle page to get their own vaccination van and donations started flooding in. 

Trustee Tina Ngata told Morning Report questions about why the van did not get government funding were not for her to answer.

"The main thing for us right now is just that we want to get it up and running.

"We see value in it, our communities see value in it, and I'm so thrilled that Aotearoa also evidently sees value in it and have put their money on the matter as well."

She said she was amazed when the campaign hit $10,000 raised, and is amazed at how much further it went

"We thought, 'wow, we could really contribute something and try and find some other philanthropic funding to contribute. And then that just kept going and growing, and so we're just really, really floored and thankful."

The next step is to plan what to do next, especially as getting the van isn't going to be the only cost.

"We're sitting down today to put our plan together and look at exactly what the other costs are going to be. Because there's also human resource costs involved, of course, and other supplies as well, and accommodation for people who are going to come here because it's a very remote area."

Labour Party MP for the East Coast Kiri Allen told Morning Report the she always supports grass roots initiatives, and there are other mobile options coming to the East Coast.

"I'm working with Ngāti Porou Hauora, the provider on East Coast, right now on mobile options in addition to the couple of temporary mobile options they have right now.

"I don't want to impact what Tina is doing because it's great, but I do want to make clear that the government is working directly with Ngāti Porou Hauora for their own mobile solution which involves capex (for a mobile clinic) and opex (for nursing staff)."