Stayin’ Alive at the Te Arawa drive-through vaccination clinic

Being at the Te Arawa Drive-through vaccination clinic gives me a massive sense of hope and aroha for the Rotorua community, as people come together to act and protect our community from COVID-19.

As the communications and logistics support for this kaupapa, we’ve been rallying the troops, organising logistics and spreading the word since it was established in September 2021, following New Zealand’s Alert Level 4 lockdown.

On the ground and surrounded by a team of 50+ healthcare workers, nursing students, traffic control, Māori Wardens, volunteers and more, you can feel how powerful it is when people come together under the same purpose.

There is a sense of urgency – time is short and the need to work fast to get everyone protected has never been greater, with Delta literally days away. Everyone involved is working above and beyond their job descriptions to make that happen.

After eight hours of vaccinating on a Sunday, you can still find the whole team doing a ‘hundy dance’ to the Bee Gee’s Stayin’ Alive for every 100th vaccination, sharing a laugh and treating everyone as if they were the first patient of the day.

Every person at the clinic is so critical to the mission that there is no hierarchy, no one more important than the rest. Just a group of people helping one another. It’s grassroots action at its finest.

COVID fatigue is a very real issue for everyone involved, and it can feel overwhelming sometimes. Our work has not only crept into our personal lives, but it has also knocked down the whole front door and made itself at home. COVID-19 has occupied every aspect of our being and it’s not looking to leave any time soon.

But at the end of the day, being involved in this kaupapa is genuinely one of the most important pieces of work in our lifetime – and if we can save lives, save whakapapa, save our community – then I’ll do a ‘hundy dance’ to that.

Written by Rebecca Roling – Communications Consultant