Huge increase in Māori and Pasifika vaccinations at Manurewa marae

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Community Covid-19 vaccination stations continue to see a surge in demand for vaccines and testing services.

Manurewa Marae is one of the busiest sites in South Auckland, which saw over 300 people vaccinated yesterday alone.

"We have seen a huge increase in Māori and Pasifika whānau coming to get tested,” Manurewa Marae takutai moana Natasha Kemp says.

This increase comes after 35 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday, more than 50% of whom are Pasifika.

“One of the issues we have here is that we are booked all the way until September, so we have to prioritise who can come in. These priorities for first-time vaccinations are for Māori and Pacific.”

Kemp says rangatahi are also jumping on board and getting vaccinated following the announcement last week that the jab is approved for 12-15-year-olds.

“We’ve seen a huge increase of rangatahi coming in to get vaccinated. It has been really neat actually to see our whanau come through.”

As workers at the marae aim to keep up with this surge in demand for tests while providing care packages for whānau in the community, tensions can rise among kaimahi, Kemp says.

“It happens every day at the front gates of Manurewa marae.  

“And we encourage our kaimahi to simply take a deep breath, and even tap out if they need to.”