NauMai September 2021
The Catholic Parish in Wellington South and the Pacific Islanders’ Presbyterian Church in Constable St, Newtown, were delighted to see 465 people vaccinated against Covid on 7 August 2021, at the Pacific Islanders’ Presbyterian Church Hall, for their first jab. They were scheduled to receive their second ‘jab’ on 28 August.
The organised vaccinations came about in response to the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference call to support the national Covid-19 vaccination programme as well as a desire to ensure equitable access for Māori, Pasifika and people living in areas of deprivation. Spokesperson for Wellington South parish, Joe Green, said an approach was initially made to Alfred Soakai, Pacific Equity Lead Covid Response at Capital and Coast District Health Board, offering St Anne’s campus in Newtown for a ‘Covid vaccination festival’. A site inspection showed the facility to be too small, so the Catholic parish entered into a partnership with the Pacific Islanders’ Presbyterian Church.
Information notices were supplied by the CCDHB and distributed widely through both church networks. Numbers responding to these were topped up by public notices on the streets of Newtown.
Tu Ora Compass took the clinical lead while the churches provided hosts. For the first event the Pacific Islanders’ Presbyterian Church provided soup and sandwiches as a drawcard, along with decorations to provide a ‘festival feel’ for the day. The festival feel was an incentive for those who had been vaccinated and had completed their clinically supervised wait time of 20 minutes to move on and ensure the through flow. People then met in the carpark area to eat lunch and to chat.
The Taeaomanino Trust provided packs of fruit and water, along with about 100 boxes of household and cleaning products – which became prizes in a Pasifika quiz put together by one of the hosts. The quiz provided many laughs for those waiting out their 20 minutes!
‘The atmosphere was truly one of joy at being able to get vaccinated to keep our families and communities safe,’ said Joe Green.
On 28 August, it was the turn of the Catholic Parish to provide hosts and food, when the 465 people were due to return to the Pacific Islanders’ Presbyterian Church Hall for their second vaccination ‘jab’.
Holy Cross Church Hall, Miramar, in Wellington’s Eastern suburbs, was officially opened in August, in partnership with the local Peninsula Medical Centre as a Covid-19 vaccine centre for the whole community.
Fr Bill Warwick, parish priest of Holy Trinity Parish, blessed the centre. Then along with Wellington Mayor Andy Foster and Dr Chitra Karunanidhi from Peninsula, Fr Bill officially opened the hall and led the first group of people into the centre. Fr Bill later rolled up his sleeve to receive his first ‘jab’.