COVID-19 information for ethnic communities

This page provides information for ethnic communities about COVID-19 and what it means for you, your family and your communities. We will update this page regularly.

Our main priority throughout New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 is to support ethnic communities to ensure they have the information and resources they need.

We send out a regular newsletter about Covid-19 and what it means for ethnic communities in New Zealand.

Sign up for the newsletter(external link) or read previous editions that we have sent out.

Life at Alert Level 1

We are now at Alert Level 1. This means that life is set to get back to almost normal, while maintaining border restrictions. We need to remember that there is still a COVID-19 global pandemic, but now we can focus on reviving the economy. For more information about Alert Level 1, visit the COVID-19 website.(external link)

Information for ethnic communities

This section points you to information that will be relevant to ethnic communities throughout the wider COVID-19 pandemic. For information about life at Alert Level 1, please see the previous section.


Funding for programmes to support ethnic communities

The Ethnic Communities Development Fund has been re-prioritised to unite against COVID-19.

The new priorities are: alternative means of staying socially connected, employment initiatives, and community resilience and recovery.

Groups from any ethnic community are eligible to apply.

More information about the new priorities for the Fund, and instructions on how to apply, can be found on the Office of Ethnic Communities Fund page.

Watch videos in a range of languages about the Fund and how to apply.

Civil Defence Emergency Management funding is available for foodbank and community groups providing essential services. This funding is designed to meet any temporary and additional costs groups face in providing food and other essential household items to people who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Contact your local Civil Defence group(external link) to see if your group is eligible for funding.

Contact tracing

Fast and effective contact tracing is essential to stopping any further spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

At Alert Level 1, there are no requirements for business and organisations to collect information to help with contact tracing, they however are encouraged to give customers the option to keep a diary of their movements, by keeping the signs allowing customers to keep a “digital diary” using the Government’s New Zealand Covid Tracer app.

Further information about ways you can keep track of your movements and why this is important.(external link)

Information for businesses and other organisations on how to collect information to help with contact tracing.(external link)

NZ Covid Tracer app: One way to keep track of your movements is to use the Government’s New Zealand Covid Tracer app, which is like a “digital diary”. Through the app, you can also register your current contact details with the Ministry of Health so they can get in touch if you are identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19.

You can download the New Zealand Covid Tracer app on your smartphone through the Apple Store or Google play. If you do not have a smartphone, you can still register online(external link) to share your latest contact information with the Ministry of Health.

Privacy and security information about the app, including how your information will be used and stored, is here.(external link)

image of the NZ Covid Tracer app

Information for businesses

Information about financial assistance for business is on the COVID-19 website(external link). There is a range of support available, including:

There is also an online COVID-19 financial support tool to find out what financial help may be available to you. Use the COVID-19 financial support tool(external link).

Further information is available for businesses:

Information for temporary migrants and non-visa holders

Information for all travellers, student visa holders, migrant workers and employers is on the COVID-19 page of the Immigration New Zealand website.(external link)

Immigration New Zealand also has a COVID-19 Migrant and Refugee page(external link) on its website. This page has information for Settlement service providers.

International students: There are a number of measures in place to ensure international students and the international education community are supported during the COVID-19 crisis. Detailed information can be found on Education New Zealand’s COVID-19 page.(external link)

The Government has established a $1M hardship fund for international students to address urgent, temporary needs arising due to changes to their personal circumstances as a result of COVID-19.

Grants of up to $20,000 are made to organisations that work with international students, such as education providers and community groups. Grants are not made directly to students or their agents. More information about the fund and how to apply.(external link)

Healthcare for people without current visas: It is important that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 call Healthline or their doctor immediately, whether you have a current visa or not. Healthline is free — call 0800 358 5453.

District Health Boards are not allowed to share any information about the immigration status of individuals with Immigration New Zealand. Your treatment will be in complete confidence. Your personal information will not be passed on to other agencies.

Food and accommodation support: If you need support with essentials like food or accommodation, you can contact your local Civil Defence Emergency Management group. There are no visa or citizenship requirements associated with receiving support from these Groups during COVID-19, although foreign nationals should be in touch with their embassy or consulate first to see if they can assist.

Contact information for your local Civil Defence group.(external link)

Foreign nationals support application: The Department of Internal Affairs is working with New Zealand Red Cross to deliver in-kind assistance to foreign nationals experiencing serious hardship due to COVID-19 to help them meet their basic, urgent and immediate needs. This is delivering on the $37.6 million Assistance for Foreign Nationals Impacted by COVID-19 programme announced by the Government on 16 June 2020. Those eligible for support are foreign nationals in New Zealand who are experiencing serious hardship, have exhausted other options, and have no current access to a flight home. The Programme will run from 1 July 2020 for three months. It is intended that at the end of this period, people will be able to return to their home country or have secured alternative means of support.

For more information and to apply, visit link) or call the Red Cross on 0800 REDCROSS (0800 733 276).

Our team has prepared videos in a variety of languages.

Information in languages other than English

If you need an interpreter when calling a government agency or helpline: call the agency you want to talk to, ask for a telephone interpreter, say the language you want, and wait to be connected.

Our team has prepared videos about COVID-19 in a variety of languages for ethnic communities. Please share these with your communities and people that might find them useful.

Audio about Life at Level 2

Videos about Helplines and staying safe during COVID-19

Videos about the Ethnic Community Development Fund

Translations of key information, including what is required at each Alert Level, are available in a range of languages on the COVID-19 website(external link).

The Red Cross has published information resources in 13 languages(external link) prepared by the community as part of their response to COVID-19.

The Northern Region District Health Boards and Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) have translated COVID-19 related health resources in 45 languages.(external link)

Preventing family violence and sexual violence

The Government and the Police continue to take family violence and sexual violence very seriously. Violence is a crime at any time.

Information about the help and support available if you are experiencing family violence or sexual violence. (external link)

Racial discrimination

Racism is not OK. Not now, not ever.

If you or someone you know believe you have been discriminated against, either racially or for another reason, please inform the Human Rights Commission using the form on its website.(external link) The Commission will use this information to see if it can help you, and as a record for its human rights advocacy work. You can also report incidents to Police by calling 105 or by using the online 105 form.(external link) Call 111 in an emergency.

More information is available on the Responding to Racism page of the Human Right Commission website.(external link)

Stop. Think. Be kind. Racism is not OK. Not now, not ever.

Welfare and wellbeing support

There are a number of ways to get financial help or access to essential supplies if you need it.

The COVID-19 website has information about:

Our team has made videos in a range of languages about the Helplines that are available.

A support and services card is also available in 23 languages.(external link) It outlines key contact numbers and information if you need support or help. The card is available in English here.(external link)


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