Supporting the health and wellbeing of the local rainbow community

Rainbow heart.Our sexual and gender identity goes to the heart of who we are as people. Some of us – especially younger people – can at times find it hard figuring out how we identify.

No one really knows yet what determines a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Some people find it easy to accept, and be accepted for, who they are. Others can find it more of a struggle, especially if our whānau and friends don’t support us.

Feeling comfortable and confident about our sexual and gender identity is crucial to good health and wellbeing. Identifying as LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexed and Asexual) may make you more prone to being labelled, made fun of or abused. It’s a sad fact that people who seem to be different to the ‘norm’ often face discrimination and bullying.

Some resources are available to explore issues around gender and sexual identity as well as support services.

Community and Public Health assists the LGBTQIA+ community by:

  • being part of the Pink Health Ōtautahi project; and
  • supporting the Pride Committee.


Government increases support for those wanting to change registered sex

Beehive media release: 29th April 2021
The Government is increasing support for New Zealanders wanting to change their sex marker on birth certificates, Minister of Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti said today.

“This Government understands that self-identification is a significant issue for transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, and is committed to making it easier for people to formally
acknowledge their identified gender,” Jan Tinetti said.

Her comments accompany the release of the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Working Group for Reducing Barriers to Changing Registered Sex.

People have been able to change the sex on their birth certificate since the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Act was passed in 1995, but there are significant barriers to this. The Working Group advised on ways to improve the process.

“The findings of the Working Group demonstrated the costs and complexities in changing the sex marker on a birth certificate, and showed why many people find it too difficult.”

Alongside implementing the recommendations of the Working Group report, the Government is progressing work on the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill with the hope of passing it this year.

The Bill will enable people to self-identify their sex on their birth certificate without going to the Family Court. They will instead be able to apply online as they currently do for other identity documents, like driver’s licenses and passports.

“I will take a range of perspectives into account as I make decisions on the future of the Bill, including whether it will come before Select Committee again. It is important we get this right,” said Jan Tinetti.

First ever nationwide funding of mental health services for Rainbow young people

Beehive media release: 14th February 2021

The Government will provide targeted nationwide funding to services that provide mental health support to Rainbow young people for the first time, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

The announcement fulfils an election commitment to allocate $4 million specifically targeted to Rainbow mental wellbeing initiatives aimed at young people. There has not previously been ongoing and nationwide targeted support to organisations operating in this area.

“The Government is committed to improving mental health outcomes for children and young people in our Rainbow communities,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Young people in the Rainbow community are at greater risk of being discriminated against, bullied and harassed. As a result they have poorer physical and mental health and addiction outcomes and are at greater risk of suicide. We need to change that.

$3.2 million of the package will fund expansion of mental wellbeing services focussing on young Rainbow New Zealanders.
The remainder of the package will be allocated to topping up the existing Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund. The Fund was established as an acknowledgement of those New Zealanders who were convicted for homosexual acts before the law was changed in 1986.

All Right?: Taking pride in who we are

However you identify: More than All Right?

Research from the All Right? campaign in early 2020 found that the Christchurch rainbow community is optimistic overall and many things are getting better. However many LGBTQIA+ people still face significant obstacles to their wellbeing.

The rainbow community contributes so much to our city – injecting vibrancy, excitement and compassion. Unfortunately, discrimination, bullying, privacy violations and things as simple as incorrect assumptions are holding us back, and our city is poorer for it.

“The LGBTQIA+ communities contribute so much to our community, and needs to be celebrated, not just tolerated” says All Right? manager Sue Turner.

The More than All Right? campaign is designed to celebrate and give greater visibility to our local rainbow community. It shines the light on local members of our rainbow community from all walks of life.


Research reports on human rights, wellbeing and health

Support materials for parents and schools


Order resources from the Community Health Information Centre.


For more information, contact:

Diane Shannon
Ph: +64 3 364 1777

Support services for LGBTQIA+ community

OUTline NZ
0800 OUTLINE (0800 688 463)

The LowDown
Text 5626

Depression Helpline
0800 111 757

Support organisations for Canterbury, South Canterbury and West Coast LGBTQIA youth [135KB PDF].

Qtopia (Facebook).

LGBT Community Timaru (Facebook).

Support networks for transgender people (HealthInfo).

Information on Canterbury DHB gender affirming health services (HealthInfo).

Page last updated: 29/04/2021

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