A series of large electronic billboards around Tauranga are carrying a simple yet powerful message encouraging people to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
The designs were created by Te Tuinga Whānau chief imagination officer Tommy Wilson as “positive relevant messaging” aimed at what he calls the “challenging sectors of our community”.
Tommy’s passion to connect with and protect every single person within reach of his community has inspired him to create the designs, with the cost of projecting the giant messages covered by sponsors.
“We need to get to those marginalised sectors of the community – the gangs and homeless,” he says. “They are now the most important, and we want to see they get vaccinated.
“To do that we need the right messaging to connect and engage with them.”
Four large billboards around Tauranga, including sites at Bethlehem roundabout, the corner of Fraser Street and 15th Avenue and at Mount Maunganui, will carry a range of simple messages such as ‘One love two shots’, ‘No Covid no cry’, ‘The Mighty All Vax, be part of the team’, ‘Make it a double’, ‘One small prick for man, one giant jab for mankind’, and ‘Imagine life without lockdown’.
Some of the graphics will also carry the words ‘Shot bro’.
“It’s a positive message,” says Tommy. “Imagine a life without lockdown. People get that. It’s a warmer, lighter message that connects better with those areas and people that we must see get vaccinated.”
These are people that Tommy’s team works with every day, extending love and compassion.
“They need to know we care before we tell them what they need to know. We need to sit down, have a kai and a kōrero with them. “That’s when the message will get through. You must take manaakitanga with you in your kete.” This is just one of a number of initiatives Tommy is working one. Recently, he announced the expansion of a service that has been helping homeless people for nearly 40 years.
Based at what was previously a hair dressing academy on Anson Street, the Te Tuinga Whānau Support Trust-run hub will operate as a daily centre for Tauranga’s homeless.
“There’s a need for a one-stop-shop homeless hub,” says Te Tuinga Whānau Support Trust chief imaginations officer Tommy Wilson.
“It will work exactly the same way as we run Te Tuinga Taratoa in Greerton. No one will be living there. It will be very much like a day centre, a wellbeing centre - Whare Oranga.”
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