COVID-19: Super Saturday Vaxathon to broadcast on Three on October 16

A special broadcast dubbed the 'Super Saturday Vaxathon' will air on Three on October 16 in a bid to boost the uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations across Aotearoa.

The broadcast will be run similarly to New Zealand's iconic fundraising Telethons and was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday.

It will feature Newshub presenters including Mike McRoberts, Melissa Chan-Green, Patrick Gower and Oriini Kaipara, The Project's Jesse Mulligan, Kanoa Lloyd, Laura Tupou and Tony Lyall and other well-known New Zealanders and health professionals live from COVID-19 vaccination sites across the country.

"There will be prizes locally for those getting vaccinated, information from experts on the safety of the vaccine and some healthy competition between towns and regions," said Ardern.

"I think you can expect for those who have watched a Telethon before for there to be a bit of nostalgia."

Telethons were broadcast in New Zealand through the '70s, '80s and '90s, raising money for charity and featuring the classic theme song 'Thank You Very Much for Your Kind Donation'.

In 2009, Three (then TV3) broadcast a similar 23-hour telethon 'Big Night In' to support KidsCan.

Ardern said the nation has the capacity to administer 100,000 vaccine shots on Saturday and hopes to beat our previous national record of 93,000 in one day.

"Let's see if we can reach that capacity," she said.

The Super Saturday Vaxathon aims to encourage all Kiwis, particularly young Māori, Pasifika and those living with a disability, to get vaccinated urgently against COVID-19. 

"Māori have always had a strong sense of community and a shared desire to protect our whakapapa. While conversations about vaccines can be tricky in some whānau, the Vaxathon is a great opportunity for Māori to kōrero with the experts in a positive environment," said Newshub's Oriini Kaipara.

"The Vaxathon will go live across the country, highlighting vaccine initiatives from Cape Reinga to the Bluff and urging anyone who hasn't been vaccinated yet to make Saturday the day for their first dose and anyone who has been three weeks or longer since their first dose to get their second," said Ardern.

"Vaccinations will be available throughout the day and into the night across GP clinics, many of whom are opening especially for the day, along with pharmacies, marae, churches, mosques, community centres, workplaces and drive-through centres."

People interested in getting vaccinated during the Super Saturday Vaxathon can find more information online at, which is also where businesses and community groups that wish to support it can find out how to do so.

The broadcast will also feature a live progress data board, showing how each region's vaccination rates are tracking.

"We're delighted to bring the Super Saturday Vaxathon to audiences across New Zealand this weekend," said Juliet Peterson, Senior Director Programming, Discovery Australia and New Zealand.

"We're committed to doing all we can to not only inform and entertain our audiences, but to engage and motivate our communities to get vaccinated to boost our nation's immunity."

The Super Saturday Vaxathon is supported by the Ministry of Health and Pango Productions and will be broadcast on Three from 12pm to 6pm.

Newshub is owned by Discovery.