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).

Social cohesion programme to address incitement of hatred and discrimination

Beehive media release: 25th June 2021
The Government is launching a significant programme of work to strengthen social cohesion in New Zealand and create a safer, more inclusive society.

The work is part of the wider response to recommendations from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain (mosques), and builds on existing initiatives by government to strengthen social cohesion.

“The Government wants to ensure Aotearoa is a place where everyone feels safe, valued, heard, has a strong sense of belonging, and is able to participate fully in society,” Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment, Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

The Government is announcing public consultation on the latest programme of work on proposed changes to the Human Rights Act 1993 to strengthen protections against speech that incites hatred and discrimination; and seeking New Zealanders’ views about how they would make Aotearoa New Zealand more socially cohesive.

“Our diversity extends across ethnicity, culture, gender identities and expressions, religion, values and beliefs, ages, disabilities, sexual orientation, and the structure of our families.

“We are stronger as a nation because of this diversity but to maximise that strength, we need to create a society where our diverse communities are able to access opportunities, and express differences of opinion in a way that is safe,” Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

Submissions for both these consultations close on Friday 6th August 2021.

Learn to ride with Bike Bridge

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

Learn to ride including how to cycle on the road. Participants will also have the opportunity to get a discounted or free bicycle.

Winter sessions will happen the first Wednesday of the month – from July to September 2021.

Bikes and helmets provided. No special clothes are required to participate. The project welcomes female volunteers.

Contact Antoine Houle (021 111 7568) or Meg Christie (meg.christie[at] or 027 848 6927) for more information.
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 ([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)

Connecting over what’s in common

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

InCommon is a initiative 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: 27/07/2021

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