Despite mass immunisation efforts the death toll in Samoa is now at 39, with the majority of those dead under 4 years old.
Waitematā DHB has sent a team of nurses to Samoa to support the vaccination mission to combat the measles epidemic. World Health Organization said another five people had died Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths to 37.
Measles is caused by a virus and can lead to serious complications including pneumonia and inflammation of the brain that can cause permanent damage and be deadly, especially in small children.
In 2018, only 31 percent of children under five had been immunised, she said.
Director of nursing Jocelyn Peach said the nurses' response to the measles outbreak in Auckland and in Samoa had played a huge part in combating the disease.
Officials have blamed the low rates in part on fears sparked a year ago when two babies died after receiving measles vaccination shots.
O'Brien said that an anti-vaccine group had been stoking these fears further with a social media campaign, lamenting that "this is now being measured in the lives of children who have died in the course of this outbreak".
The outbreak has prompted global support, including a team of New Zealand medical staff who flew over to help local doctors.
Nearly 3000 cases have now been reported, including 250 in the last day, the Samoan government confirms.
Apia's main hospital, which normally has just four beds in its intensive care unit, now has 14 children on ventilators, Norton said, stressing that this poses "a huge, huge burden".
Two teams of nurses from Auckland's Waitematā DHB were being sent to Apia to help administer the measles mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Samoa is not the only place struggling with measles.
On Friday, there had been 2936 measles cases reported since the outbreak began, with 250 cases recorded in the past 24 hours.