Migrant and Refugee health

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.

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 Language and Information 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).

Learn to ride with Bike Bridge

Bike Bridge is a free programme for former refugee and migrant men and women at Ngā Puna Wai (Augustine Drive, Aidenfield).

Learn how to ride including on the road, as well as how to fix up bikes. Participants will also be supported to purchase a bike.

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

Contact Antoine for more information on upcoming courses (nibs.ah[at]hotmail.com or 021 111 7568).
Bike Bridge is supported by Community and Public Health.

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 (refugee.health[at]pegasus.org.nz).



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)

Connecting over what’s in common

Christchurch City Council media release: 7th April 2021

Cantabrians are being challenged to step outside their comfort zone, forge new connections and celebrate the region’s diversity.

A new initiative – InCommon – has been created in response to the Christchurch mosque attack by Cantabrians who want to ensure the incredible community spirit, togetherness and companionship that poured out after the tragic event doesn’t end.

InCommon spokesperson Lana Hart says the initiative encourages people to connect with others who they may initially think are different to themselves.

“We’re aiming to make people think twice about how they see the people around them and to think about what they have in common rather than focusing on the differences,” says Ms Hart.

InCommon: Love to boogie.

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: 12/04/2021

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