Migrant and refugee health overview

Key points about migrant and refugee health

  • Aotearoa New Zealand is one of many countries that offers a new home to refugees and migrants. 
  • Whether you or your parents have come to New Zealand as a refugee or migrant, you have a right to access health services you need to live well.
  • It is important to seek help if you have health needs.
  • Read about health services that are available.
Smiling young refugee girl

New Zealand is one of many countries that offers a new home to refugees and migrants. 

Whether you or your parents have come to New Zealand as a refugee or migrant, you have a right to access health services you need to live well.

Culturally appropriate and safe health care may include services that are able to understand your needs, language, migration history, religious beliefs, cultural values and health beliefs. It is important to seek help if you have health needs.

In New Zealand there are a range of health services that are available for you. They may be similar or quite different to ones you have used before coming to New Zealand.

It is a good to enrol with a local doctor as you can get: 

  • Free or cheaper fees when you see your local doctor (GP).
  • Access to free interpreter services, if required.
  • Reminders for checks, immunisations and other additional services.

To enrol, find a local family doctor (GP) in your area.(external link)

2 refugee girls smiling

Image credit: Canva

Accessing information in a language that you are comfortable with is really important. Read more about interpreter services and how to access professional interpreter services for your health care needs. Many services are free.

Here you can find a range of videos related to migrant and refugee health.

Refugee Sponsorship programme Introduction

An introduction to the New Zealand Refugee Sponsorship programme. This video was prepared from the original produced by the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (GRSI), which consists of the Government of Canada, the UNHCR, the Refugee Hub at the University of Ottawa, the Open Society Foundations, the Giustra Foundation, and the Shapiro Foundation. (Immigration New Zealand, NZ, 2021)


Conversations With My Immigrant Parents

A podcast and video series(external link) where parents and children learn about each other and confront those complex issues that are deepened by differences in generation and culture. (Re:, NZ, 2020)

For former refugees, trauma doesn't stay in the past

Open the video through this link(external link) (Re:, NZ, 2020)

Hip hop and belonging

Open the video through this link(external link) (Re:, NZ, 2020)

When they ask you: a new poem by Mohamed Hassan

Open the video through this link(external link) (Re:, NZ, 2020)

A journalist speaking about the mental health impact of reporting on Islamophobia 

Open the video through this link(external link) (Re:, NZ, 2020)

Here you can find health information in some languages used by migrants and refugees – use our Translations section.

These organisations provide support and services for new migrants and refugees in New Zealand.

Migration programmes(external link) New Zealand Red Cross
The New Zealand Red Cross provides a range of practical support services to assist refugees with the many challenges of adjusting to life in a new culture and society. The support services include the Pathways to Employment programme that helps individuals from refugee backgrounds plan their employment and ultimately find work.

Services for refugees and asylum seeker(external link) Auckland Regional Public Health Service, NZ  
A list of health services for refugees and asylum seekers

Support for Refugees & Asylum Seekers(external link) RASNZ Refugee health & wellbeing
RASNZ Refugee as Survivors New Zealand is a leading mental health and wellbeing service for people from refugee backgrounds living in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Refugees, asylum seekers and their families (external link) Immigration New Zealand
Information on the ways Immigration NZ can support migrants including information on settlement and language assistance programmes

Access help and support(external link) Immigration New Zealand
Information services for new migrants to help them settle and work in New Zealand.

Rights and responsibilities(external link) Employment New Zealand
An overview of the minimum rights and obligations that apply by law to employers and employees. This is available in a number of different languages.(external link)

Refugee Council of New Zealand(external link) NZ
An organisation who can provide advice, information and assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees in New Zealand

New Zealand National Refugee Youth Council(external link) NZ
A charity started by refugee youth to advocate for, engage  and support refugee background youth around NZ

Aotearoa New Zealand's ethnic communities(external link) Te Tari Mātāwaka Office of Ethnic Communities, NZ
A register of ethnic community organisations and support services. You can look for services by region, faith or ethnicity.

New Zealand National Refugee Association(external link) NZ
The New Zealand National Refugee Association motivates, assists, and connects refugee families using rights and needs-based strategies.

Multicultural New Zealand(external link) NZ
Multicultural New Zealand has organisations throughout the country. They work closely with recent migrants in Aotearoa, former refugees, local Māori leaders, Government and the wider community.

Asylum Seekers Support Trust(external link) NZ
An organisation that can provide emergency housing, food and other support.

Rainbow Path NZ(external link)
A group connecting LGBTQIA+ Refugees and Asylum Seekers in New Zealand. Almost all Rainbow Path members are asylum seekers or refugees, and most are trans.

Shakthi(external link) NZ
Services migrant and refugee women of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origins

Family services directory(external link), NZ
A government directory of organisations in your area that can provide support to you and your family. The directory includes organisations that can provide support in areas such as addiction, legal services, education, ethnic services, family violence, mental health and special needs.

Your local doctor(external link) NZ
Find out where your local doctor is, how to enrol and other useful health related information and links for migrant communities

Healthinfo(external link) Canterbury, NZ
A health information website for the general public. The website has a mix of health information, including factsheets on different topics and descriptions of local health services and support organisations.

Find your Midwife(external link) NZ
If you are pregnant, find a midwife here. You can choose by location and language

Gandhi Nivas(external link) NZ
Early intervention and prevention services for New Zealand men identified at risk of committing harm in the family home. 

Pamoja(external link) NZ
HIV prevention and support programme for Africans, by Africans in New Zealand

Diversity Counselling New Zealand(external link) NZ
Diversity Counselling New Zealand is a charitable trust offering a team of qualified, registered and experienced counselling professionals, passionate in making a difference to the community.

To find a refugee and migrant service within your area, use the location filter under the map (mobile view) or at the bottom of the search results (computer view). 

Source: HealthPoint services directory used with permission.

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Credits: Healthify Editorial Team Healthify Editorial Team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

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