There's hope a new vaccination clinic in Dunedin will encourage people from vulnerable communities to get vaccinated.
Just over 68,000 doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine have been given in the Southern District so far, with 13 percent of eligible Māori and Pasifika vaccinated to date.
The Mō Tātou Tīpuna vaccination clinic opened with song on a brisk morning in the Dunedin suburb of Caversham.
Ōtākou Health worked with the Southern DHB to make the clinic happen.
Its chair Donna Matahaere-Atariki explained the name of the clinic - Mō Tātou Tīpuna - meant 'for our ancestors'.
"Battle-weary people went all the way up to Canterbury to help our whānau up there. They were successful, they made their way back to Ōtākou and one guy came off the boat, and just about destroyed the whole village with the flu," she said.
She wanted to ensure vulnerable communities felt comfortable to get vaccinated.
"We have lots of evidence that Māori and Pasifika and other vulnerable groups have low trust in our health system so we've actually got to lean out to them, not just set up and go 'haere mai, come here'. We've actually got to be constantly thinking about ways about how we reach them, lean into them and bring them in."
Ōtākou Health principal iwi advisor Matt Matahaere led a whakawātea to cleanse the clinic before it officially opened its doors.
Work started on transforming the former medical centre into a whānau friendly vaccination clinic on Thursday, he said.
"Long nights for a lot of people so I'm looking around the room at our wonderful, amazing community and looking at how people can really come together for a kaupapa such as this vaccine roll-out which really is about looking after our health.
"So long hours for a lot of people, probably on two to three hours sleep for the last couple of nights and just coming together as a community so we can stand this up," he said.
The clinic can deliver 100 vaccines a day and will have kai available.
Waitomo Papakāinga kaiārahi Katie Murray was the first person to be vaccinated.
"It was wonderful - there was no pain by the way, people!
"It was smooth; two seconds, gone, and tape put on and 20 minutes to wait to make sure that there are no after effects," she said.
"It's a lovely atmosphere, you can yarn, have a cup of tea. It's warm - warmer than outside."
She was delighted to see the clinic up and running and servicing vulnerable communities.
Southern DHB said it was pleased with the response to the clinics so far, with more expected to open before September.
It was confident many in the Māori and Pasifika communities will get a vaccine.
Mō Tātou Tīpuna will be open on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from next week.