New Zealand’s first-ever ‘Vaxathon’ will take place this weekend on ‘Super Saturday’ – a national day of action that calls on every remaining eligible New Zealander to get their COVID-19 vaccine shot.
“Everyone across the motu has a role to play to protect Aotearoa/New Zealand against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated, and we’re calling for a massive collective effort to make this happen,” says Group Manager of Equity for the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Immunisation Programme, Tamati Sheppard-Wipiiti.
“By far the biggest and most powerful weapon we have in our fight against COVID-19 is vaccination – so we really need everyone from our whānau, families and communities to step up and play their part, and to help us reach those who have not yet come forward.
“The Vaxathon is just one of the ways we’re reaching out, with vaccine clinics also open right across Aotearoa all day and into the evening as part of the nationwide push, so it’s never been easier to get your shot,” he said.
Bailey Mackey, from Pango Productions, says the Vaxathon encourages New Zealanders – particularly young Māori, Pacific and tāngata whaikaha (those living with a disability) – to get vaccinated.
“The Vaxathon will be broadcast on multiple platforms, including TV3, Māori Television and on Hahana’s Facebook page, from midday to 8pm,” Mr Mackey said.
“Well-known 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. A live data board, updated in real time, will provide progress measures of how each region is tracking.
“The event is a celebration of the hard work communities are continuing to put in to ensure more people across Aotearoa are vaccinated.
“We’re focusing our efforts on motivating communities to support each other to get vaccinated – coming together as a nation to boost our protection against COVID-19. I know from first-hand experience that many Māori are mistrusting of the ’system’ and this is an opportunity to engage with them in a meaningful way, hopefully on their terms,” he said.
Senior Director Programming, Discovery Australia and New Zealand, Juliet Peterson says: “We’re delighted to bring the Vaxathon event to audiences across New Zealand this Super Saturday. We’re committed to doing all we can to not only inform and entertain our audiences, but also to engage and motivate our communities to get vaccinated and boost our nation’s immunity.”
Tāhuhu Rangapū (Chief Executive) of Māori Television, Shane Taurima says a new record for Māori vaccinations was set earlier this week with more than 10,000 doses given to whānau Māori and the Vaxathon will help push these numbers even higher.
“Māori Television plays a critical role in serving Māori communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud to be involved in the live broadcast of Super Saturday Vaxathon to get more Māori and other New Zealanders vaccinated,” he said.
The Super Saturday Vaxathon is proudly supported by the Ministry of Health, Te Māngai Pāho, Pango Productions, and Discovery ANZ. It will be live on TV3, Māori Television, and Hahana. It is also receiving support from New Zealand businesses to awhi vaccine uptake in communities around Aotearoa.