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Gisborne to play its part in Super Saturday 'vaxathon'

Plans are being formulated for Gisborne events as part of the Super Saturday “vaxathon” this weekend.

Super Saturday is a “national day of action” encouraging every remaining eligible New Zealander to get their Covid shot.

The vaxathon will be broadcast live from Kaitaia, Otara, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Otautahi/Christchurch and Porirua.

People will be able to view it on multiple platforms including TV3, Maori Television and the Hahana Facebook page from midday to 8pm.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz said local planning was under way for the vaxathon.

She attended a Tairawhiti Regional Leadership Group meeting with local MPs and ministers Kiri Allan and Meka Whaitiri and said more details would become available later in the week.

“At this stage we are encouraging everyone to get to our multiple vaccination clinics available this week.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, in announcing Super Saturday, called on “all our political and civic leaders to contribute to a big collective effort to turn people out (to get vaccinated)”.

Ms Ardern yesterday described it as “a blast from the past” — in reference to the nationwide Telethon 24-hour fundraising events of the 1970s, 80s and early 90s — “to support and encourage our nationwide vaccination effort.

“The vaxathon will go live across the country, highlighting vaccine initiatives from Cape Reinga to the Bluff and urging anyone who hasn't been vaccinated yet to make Saturday the day for their first dose and anyone who has been three weeks or longer since their first dose, to get their second.

“The vaxathon will include real-time data on how each region is tracking with vaccination uptake throughout the day. There will be prizes locally for those getting vaccinated, information from experts on the safety of the vaccine and some health competition between towns and regions.

“Vaccinations will be available throughout the day and into the night on Saturday across GP clinics — many of which are opening especially for the day — pharmacies, marae, churches, mosques, community centres, workplaces and drive-through centres.”

Pango Productions chief executive and Ngati Porou East Coast Rugby Football Union president Bailey Mackey said the aim of the vaxathon was about encouraging New Zealanders — particularly young Maori, Pacific and tangata whaikaha (those living with a disability) — to get vaccinated.

“Celebrities, influencers and health professionals will front the live broadcast, crossing over to Covid-19 vaccination sites to capture the atmosphere and experiences of those receiving their first or second vaccine.

“The event is a celebration of the hard work communities are continuing to put in to ensure more people across Aotearoa are vaccinated.

“I know from firsthand experience that many Maori are mistrusting of the ‘system' and this is an opportunity to engage with them in a meaningful way, hopefully on their terms.”

To book a vaccination, go to bookmyvaccine.nz or call the Covid Vaccine Healthline on 0800 28 29 26.