Agency: The country is trying to vaccinate 90 percent of its eligible population before reopening, and so far, 86 percent of people 12 and older have received at least one dose.
But the final few percent are the most difficult to reach. One group of concern is the gang community. Many of their members are Maori or Pacific Islanders, who make up about a quarter of the overall population. Just over 47 percent of eligible Maori are fully vaccinated, compared with nearly 70 percent of the wider population.
In the past two months, after multiple outbreaks spread among gangs, officials and gang leaders began working together. Now, health professionals are working alongside gang members to help with vaccination outreach and contact tracing.
Context: New Zealand has one of the highest rates of gang membership in the world: At least 8,000 people are members. Although some are part of the drug trade, gangs have a long history and often provide critical social structures for Maori in urban centers.