Supporting migrant and refugee health in Canterbury

Smiling mother and child of African descent.Canterbury is home to a growing number of people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Everyone who makes the decision to start life in a new country faces challenges. There are many providers available to support and help refugees and migrants when they arrive in Christchurch.

People from refugee backgrounds, migrants and their families coming to New Zealand face a range of health challenges. These can include physical, mental and social challenges.

Help is readily available from various providers including interpreting services when necessary.

Wellbeing guides in migrant languages

Yellow Brick Road have published a series of downloadable wellbeing guides in English, Chinese, Samoan, Hindi and Tagalog. The resources cover a range of topics and will help you learn how to manage anxiety, boost your mental health and lower your stress levels.

Yellow Brick Road provides services for families of people experiencing mental illness and was previously known as Supporting Families in Mental Illness.

Working closely with local migrant groups and organisations

Community and Public Health works with local migrant and refugee groups alongside organisations and health services to protect the health of the community.

Staff attend community meetings including:

  • Community Languages and Information Network Group (CLING).
  • Interagency Network For Refugees and Migrants (INFoRM); and
  • Health and Wellbeing Network (a subgroup of INFoRM).

Community and Public Health also networks with local organisations on refugee and migrant issues including:

  • Pegasus Health;
  • Christchurch Resettlement Services (CRS);
  • Canterbury Refugee Council;
  • Hagley Community College;
  • Red Cross;
  • Christchurch City Council; and
  • Health and Disability Advocacy Service (part of the Health and Disability Commission).

Come along to the MIHI COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

This vaccination clinic for migrant and ethnic communities is based at Shop 2 in South City Shopping Centre (555 Colombo Street, Christchurch) during Alert Levels 2, 3 and 4.

Please ring 0800 MIHI 4U (0800 644 448) to make a booking for you and your whānau to be vaccinated.

“We work with community leaders, they call their people, and we work together to adapt the day, so it works for them. We are able to accommodate supports like providing interpreters. The kaupapa is about being welcoming and manaakitanga is a natural fit” says CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) Health Manager Ester Vallero.

The Muslim community has worked together with the Canterbury Māui Collective to get their community on board to get vaccinated.

“The Muslim community is like any other community that is having to deal with misinformation.” says the Imam of the Al Noor Mosque Gamal Fouda – who came to get vaccinated with his family.

“I’m encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. Once we do it, we can open our borders, so we can visit family and have families visit us and open up to the rest of the world.”

Learn to ride with Bike Bridge

Bike Bridge is a free programme for former refugee and migrant women to learn to ride a bicycle at Nga Puna Wai (Augustine Drive in Aidenfield).

The sessions are fun and you can also meet new people. Children welcome!

Bikes and helmets provided. No special clothes are required to participate.

The next course will run on Thursday afternoons (1 to 3pm) from 14th October to 4th November 2021.
An evening course will begin in mid-November 2021.

Participants will also have the opportunity to get a free or heavily discounted bicycle – as well as a lock and helmet at the end of the programme.

There will be three programme levels:

  1. For absolute beginners;
  2. For women who want to improve their riding skills off-road; and
  3. For women wanting to learn to ride in traffic and navigate other road infrastructure.

The project welcomes female volunteers.

Contact Meg Christie for more information (027 080 6927 or bikebridge.christchurch[at]

Free health screening and first doctor’s visit

Bhutanese Family sitting together.

All refugees are entitled to a free health screening check for each family member. This includes asylum seekers applicants, Family reunification migrants and New Zealand quota system refugees.

Community and Public Health facilitates free health screening services for Family reunification migrants and asylum seekers applicants in Canterbury only. Staff will organise a GP practice and free first doctor’s visit for each family member with a Community Services Card. Interpreters will be provided where needed.

Contact the Community and Public Health Communicable Disease Nurse on 03 364 1777 to find out what services are available or to organise a doctor’s visit.

Pegasus Health facilitates a GP practice and free healthcare for quota refugees in Canterbury who have a Community Services Card and have been in New Zealand for less than 5 years.

Contact the Pegasus Refugee Nurse for more information ([at]



Download or order resources from the Community Health Information Centre.


For infectious disease enquiries, contact:

Communicable Disease Nurse
Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6484

For additional information, contact:

New Zealand Newcomers Network.

Canterbury Refugee Resettlement and Resource Centre
Ph: +64 3 377 2538

Christchurch Resettlement Services
Ph: +64 3 335 0311

Citizens Advice Bureau – Migrant Connect and Language Connect
Ph: 0800 FOR CAB (0800 367 222)

The Newcomers Guide to Christchurch and Canterbury

This Facebook page is for recent arrivals to the Canterbury region.

It’s designed to share what’s happening, provide key information on living here, and act as a place for those new to Canterbury to connect and share ideas.

Contact Christina Lewis for more information (03 378 6823).

Newcomers Guide to Christchurch and Canterbury Logo.

Page last updated: 19/10/2021

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