Rainbow’s End fun launches tamariki back-to-school and vaccination festival

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Five hundred children and their whānau flowed through the gates of Rainbow's End last night as part of the Uenuku Festival – a three-event fun-filled vaccination programme aimed at South Auckland children before they return to school at the end of this month.

“This is a celebration of our tamariki, and we really want to create a strong movement within our whānau and iwi to get their children vaccinated and protected,” festival lead and Mahi Pai director Lisa Minhinnick (Patuharakeke) says.

The event was timely given the vaccination rollout for 5-11-year-olds in Aotearoa was launched yesterday.

It is part of the Uenuku Festival, run by Te Kopu, a registered Charitable Trust established by the late Dame Ngāneko Minhinnick in 2004.

“We have health provider experts here, including registered nurses, informing our whanau and giving them good information about vaccination,”  Minhinnick says.

Whānau included Ngāti Te Ata whānau, Pasifika families and families from various South Auckland schools.  

They were treated to access to most of the rides in the park, a live show by the Mahi Pai taniwha, and given back-to-school packs decked out with lunch boxes, first aid kits, masks and other essentials.

“When you’re giving something like that away, they’re going back with some enthusiasm and they are motivated and they want to go back to school, and we want them to go back to school, healthy and vaccinated," Te Kopu chair and Dame Ngāneko's son, Roimata Minhinnick (Ngāti Te Ata), says.

The Uenuku Festival is supported by Tahuna Pa Marae, Mahi Pai, Rainbow's End, and children's wellness group Made to Move, and Te Kopu. Lisa Minhinick is expecting other organisations to come on board before their next big event at the end of the month.