News Release

Church Partnerships Play Key Roles in New Zealand’s ‘Super Saturday’ Vaccination Drive

Work with community health providers and several other denominations over the weekend helped move numbers way up 

This past weekend, New Zealander’s turned out in big numbers to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations at sites all over the country with more than 130,000 vaccinations delivered which takes New Zealand to 85% first dose and 65% fully vaccinated. 

In Auckland, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints created relationships with many different organisations and brought them together to set up centres at their meeting houses for drive-through vaccination centres in the suburbs of Mangere, Otara and Beach Haven. All together, these sites delivered nearly 1,200 doses of the vaccine.

Each centre was open to everyone but were also targeted at specific communities. Key to this happening was the close coordination with the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre who provided the operating framework for all of the different health care providers.

The Mangere project was supported by the Cook Islands Religious Advisory Council and included the congregations of five churches along with health care provider Baderdrive Doctors, who serve the Cook Islands community.

Church leaders were there to greet members of their congregations and included pastors from the Cook Islands Seventh Day Adventist Church, Cook Islands Christian Church, Cook Islands Presbyterian Church, Cook Islands Apostolic Church and the Presidents of Manukau and Penrose Stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In Beach Haven, the outreach was directed to the large Samoan community there. The Church provided the Aeroview chapel and a host of volunteers from that ward. Lead partner there was the Fono which provides healthcare and education in the Auckland area.  Volunteers also came from other organisations including Pacific Island Presbyterian Church.

Also taking part was Shanan Halbert, Member of Parliament for Northcote, who was very complimentary of the collaborative spirit of the event.

Volunteers pose in front of an Auckland city vaccination bus at the Otara Stake Centre drive through on Super Saturday. New Zealand, 20212021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Otara Stake organised around their stake centre in heart of South Auckland, home for many Polynesians. SouthSeas Healthcare provided the vaccination services in cooperation with the NRHCC. The church is located on a very busy road so a group of volunteers went out to the sidewalk and waved colorful Polynesian flags at the passing vehicles. Many stopped in to queue up for vaccination.

Aupito William Sio, the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Minister for Courts and a Member of the New Zealand Parliament, joined the event. He offered his congratulations on a great turnout and on the level of collaboration between government, community and religious organizations.

“I appeal to all in our community to come together around our traditional values to protect our families and loved ones so that we can endure into the future,” he said. “In the villages of Auckland we have the power of the chiefs who can use their voices to persuade others to do the right thing. While this is a remarkable work, this effort must go on.”

Church leaders greet members of their congregations at the vaccination centre in Mangere and included pastors from the Cook Islands Seventh-day Adventist Church, Cook Islands Christian Church, Cook Islands Presbyterian Church, Cook Islands Apostolic Church and the presidents of Manukau and Penrose stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. New Zealand, October 20212021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

President Taulia Tafiti of the Manukau Stake was joined by President Faaleaga Young-Yen of the Penrose Stake ─ both local leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President Tafiti said, “We felt it was very important for us to be here in person to help our members feel confidence and comfort about vaccination and we really appreciated joining together with our colleagues from other churches. We know that Heavenly Father blesses His children through the actions of His other children. That’s what we are doing today.“

President Young-Yen added, “We have to be part of the solution and by following the example of our leader President Nelson, we can do just that."

Hamish Crooks, a member of the Cook Islands Religious Advisory Council said, “I really appreciated the efforts of all who worked together on this effort. They left no stone unturned in getting people out for today’s event, especially those under age 30.”

Pastor Paora Teaukura of the Cook Islands Seventh-day Adventist Church in East Tamaki said, “It was a real pleasure to work together and share our united effort in helping fight this dreadful disease. I am happy to be part of this team doing our best for the Cook Islands community. That is our calling. We respect our religious differences but we know religious belief is not a barrier to express our love to others.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.