Manurewa Marae has put up their hand to be a leading example for South Auckland communities to get vaccinated against covid-19.
Manurewa Marae CEO Takutai Moana Natasha Kemp says: "We can't expect our whānau to do it if we don't do it ourselves."
It comes after an urgent call from community and marae leaders who raised concerns over the safety of South Auckland just after the community transmission which broke out in Papatoetoe in late February.
After a karakia service this morning which welcomed the first batch of vaccines, frontline workers and kaumātua were set to receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Up first was Manurewa Marae Board Chairman Rangi McLean, who says he had no concerns and couldn't wait.
"We hope to positively promote the fact that getting vaccinated is the way to go, to look after your whānau, your wider whānau and your community," he told the Herald.
"We made the decision over a year ago when covid first visited our shores. We made a stand and put our hands up to help our community.
"We're not sure when this is going to end but anything to do with Covid, Manurewa will jump on board to address it."
Kemp says Manurewa Marae is a safe place for anyone who is vaccine-hesitant and for those seeking more information to make an informed decision for themselves.
The marae has partnered with Manukau Counties DHB and Whanau Ora to provide resources and other services to assist concerned people of the community.
"Having the right information from the right credible people, we want to be that for our people.
"Whānau can come here to collect information and feel confident.
"We're saying it's ok and we want to lead the way for our people."
The marae has a priority group for those who are 60 years old and over, including kaumātua, kuia and others with underlying health issues.
The centre is set to take up to 300 people a day, but Kemp says they'll move into that process in the next few days.
For now, they are trialling 50 vaccines a day and will take it up a notch in the days to come.
Prior to getting vaccinated, both McLean and Kemp were consulted by a health professional in case of any concern. This is said to be protocol for those handling vaccinations.
This process includes getting your temperature checked, and a list of health and safety questions to ensure the person is ready. A Covid-19 vaccination form is also given out upon arrival.
Both Mclean and Kemp were surprised at how fast the process was.
"I didn't feel anything." Kemp said.
Among those getting vaccinated today is the Associate Minister of Health, Aupito William Sio.
He is set to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in Ōtara this afternoon.
"We are aware that there are groups who might be initially reluctant to receive the vaccine because of questions related to safety and science, and I want to publicly reinforce its safety and effectiveness," the minister said.
"It is also a show of support for our frontline health workforce, which has also recently begun receiving vaccinations."