'Give Delta a taste of Kiwi': Vaxathon co-host Paddy Gower on Super Saturday

Author
Adam Pearse, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 15 Oct 2021, 7:57PM
New Zealand broadcasting icon Patrick Gower getting his second vaccination in Naenae, Wellington two weeks ago. (Photo / Supplied)
New Zealand broadcasting icon Patrick Gower getting his second vaccination in Naenae, Wellington two weeks ago. (Photo / Supplied)

'Give Delta a taste of Kiwi': Vaxathon co-host Paddy Gower on Super Saturday

Author
Adam Pearse, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 15 Oct 2021, 7:57PM

Journalist Patrick Gower won't be mincing his words when he co-hosts tomorrow's landmark Vaxathon as part of the nationwide Super Saturday vaccination drive.

In fact, he may reprise one of his most famous pieces of broadcasting: "This is the f***** news" - this time with a vaccination twist.

"Tomorrow's not about politicians ... tomorrow's about 'this is the f***** jab' and just get it," he said.

The Vaxathon (vaccination telethon) will broadcast from 12pm to 8pm on nzherald.co.nz, the NZ Herald Youtube channel, Three, Māori TV, TV2, nzherald.co.nz and Discovery, as well as other Māori platforms like Hahana, JGeeks, Re: News, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and Waatea News.

Instead of donations, the aim of the Vaxathon is to raise national vaccination levels to fast-track New Zealand's return to normality amid a growing Delta outbreak.

Vaccination levels will be updated regularly throughout the broadcast, informing viewers where vaccination rates are rising the fastest.

Celebrities, influencers, politicians and health professionals will be live on set at Avalon Studios in Wellington, as well as at vaccination centres across the country including in Kaitaia, Ōtara, Manurewa, Rotorua, Porirua, Ōtautahi (Christchurch) and Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington).

Support from businesses has flooded in as a way to incentivise vaccination for those yet to be jabbed. There are thousands of dollars of vouchers, festival tickets, smartphones, holidays and even an electric vehicle up for grabs.

Prizes, which will also be available to those watching, have been supplied by The Warehouse, Placemakers, BurgerFuel, Rhythm and Vines, The Travel Corporation (Contiki), Foodstuffs, Vodafone and many more.

Set to make appearances are vaccination rollout stalwarts Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Many familiar television, arts and sporting identities will also take part, including Taika Waititi, Louis Baker, TJ Perenara, Hollie Smith, Lucy Lawless, Madeleine Sami, Toni Street, Suzy Cato, Megan Alatini, Ana Corbett, the Shortland Street cast, the Young Rock cast, Tammy Wells (The Briscoes Lady) and Shannon Paku.

Gower will share the hosting duties alongside other broadcasters and presenters including Julian Wilcox, Sonny Ngatai, Anna Harcourt, as well as Silver Fern Maia Wilson.

Gower, who relishes the unpredictability of live broadcasting, is thrilled to be included in what he terms an "Oceans 11 crew" given the mission of boosting vaccinations.

"Honestly, it's the biggest honour and the most important job that I've ever been given," he said.

"I cannot wait to help try and get Kiwis jabbed, I just cannot think of something I would rather do in my career, it's just that important."

Patrick Gower (fifth from right back) stands with some hard-working vaccinators in Wellington. Photo / Supplied

Patrick Gower (fifth from right back) stands with some hard-working vaccinators in Wellington. Photo / Supplied

Gower said he hoped to recreate the memories of telethons he had, watching them as a child and being enthralled by the spectacle.

"I remember just sitting around with my [parents] and my sister and wondering what was going to happen next and what this magic was on the TV that everyone was interested in."

"It is a warm, fuzzy feeling of watching the TV with my family and if I can help recreate that for one family tomorrow, that's going to be awesome."

Earlier this week, Ardern set down the challenge of reaching 100,000 vaccinations on Super Saturday, which would be a record daily total in New Zealand.

Gower believed Kiwis could clear that target by some distance, recognising every vaccination was crucial.

"Honestly, I'm scared about what Delta and Covid-19 could do to us, I'm scared that it's going to take our loved ones and take our way of life, and the vaccines is our chance to give Delta a taste of Kiwi.

"Seeing people get jabbed is going to be the main thing because it means hope for me and hope for us as New Zealand."