COVID-19: West Coast vaccine rates spike in race to become most vaccinated region

The South Island's West Coast is giving the rest of New Zealand a run for its money in the race to become the most vaccinated region. 

The percentage of people who've had their shots in areas surrounding Hokitika has had the sharpest increase this past week. 

In a vaccination ute, vaccinators will drive 350 kilometres from Hokitika to Haast. Westland District Mayor Bruce Smith says every road will be covered. 

"They'll get up every bush road, every back road, I think it's a wonderful initiative."

To ensure no one gets left behind, Poutini Waiora acting chief executive said they pitched the idea to the Ministry of Health in March. 

"Go out to the farm gate, go down to whitebait, stand on the river, we will do whatever it takes to reach our people."

That including 400 Māori who don't live in the main centres

 Initially sluggish in their uptake to get vaccinated, Coasters are now gaining momentum. 

Three of the four biggest improvers in New Zealand are on the West Coast, with the largest weekly increase of 13 percentage points surrounding Hokitika. 

Smith is so confident he has put up a wager with his West Coast counterparts. 

"I have put the finest bottle of red wine on the table for the mayors and the district that gets to 90 percent first gets the wine."

Greymouth District Mayor Tania Gibson is in on the competition, handing out ice creams as an incentive. 

"I'll be winning after this weekend," She said. 

"Doing around 100 an hour down here today giving out ice creams we're running all weekend there's even a fly-in for people around the South Island." 

As the rest of the country gears up for Super Saturday, the coast is already in the swing of it.