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Choosing the right healthcare

We all get sick from time to time, but symptoms can often be managed at home safely. For symptoms that might need a bit more care there are a range of options available. Immunisation is your best protection.

Below is a guide to the best care and services available for different ailments or health situations.

choose well


Access to free health advice

There are many ways you can access free health advice and help whenever you need it. You can access online resources any time, go to your pharmacy for healthcare advice or call free phone numbers.

Always call 111 first if it is a life-threatening emergency or you or someone you know is in danger.

  • Reliable online information about health and medicines, self-care resources and videos can be found at the Healthify He Puna Waiora website (previously

  • Healthline
    Call 0800 611 116 any time for trusted health advice and information from nurses, paramedics, advisors, and doctors. You can choose to speak with a Māori clinician if you’re calling between 8am – 8pm.
  • Disability Helpline
    Call 0800 11 12 13 or text 8988. A dedicated team can support members of the disability community with COVID-19 testing, face mask exemptions, managing COVID-19 at home, any general health concerns, information and support. For assistance, you can access this using the NZ Relay Service.
  • Vaccination Healthline 
    0800 28 29 26 for COVID-19 and flu vaccination advice, information and booking assistance.

  • COVID-19 Healthline
    0800 358 5453 or visit for support, information and advice about COVID-19 specifically. 
  • Family doctor 
    If you don't have a GP, you can find one 
    using this online directory.

Keep up those healthy habits

Let’s keep practising these throughout winter to keep ourselves and our communities safe.

Wear a face mask - we still need to wear face masks with visiting most healthcare services. It’s also a good idea to wear a mask when on public transport, in taxis, in indoor settings like retail stores and supermarkets, in poorly ventilated spaces, or when it is hard to physically distance from other people. 

Maintain good hand hygiene by washing and drying your hands thoroughly or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser.  

Sneeze or cough into your elbow or a tissue. Avoid touching your face, dispose of tissues in a waste bin immediately and wash or sanitise your hands. This will prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other viruses such as colds or flu. 

Be prepared, just in case

Check you have everything you need to stay well including prescriptions and medicines.

Develop a plan for your whānau so family members know what to do if people become unwell. Familiarise yourself with what is expected of you by your employer if you become sick yourself.  

Get your Wellness Kit together including painkillers, a thermometer, tissues, cold and flu medications, enough food and household items for a few days, and a good stock of the regular medicines you or your whanau will need.

Make sure you have a supply of RATs

Get ready now and make sure you have enough RATs to test everyone in your whānau over the holidays, if you need to. Pack some in your travel bags before you head away.

Free RATs remain available for pick up from participating RAT collection centres until 29 February 2024. To find a collection centre near you, visit or call free on 0800 222 478 and choose option 1. Make sure to check location opening hours, which may differ over summer.

If you live rurally, have a disability, are immunocompromised or experience challenges collecting RATs yourself, you can call 0800 222 478 to check if you are eligible for a RAT delivery service.

Remember to register your RAT result at My Health Record to register your RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) results and view your COVID-19 test results.

Stay home if you’re unwell

Find advice on isolation, care and support on the COVID-19 Health Hub or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

If someone in your whānau gets sick, it’s a good idea for them to stay in one room or area until they are well. If you test positive for COVID-19, you need to isolate for 7 days.

Wear a mask to care for them, and if possible, get them to wear a mask as well. Regularly ventilate or air your home by opening windows and doors. Be sure to wipe clean any surfaces around the house that are frequently touched such as door handles, benchtops, and tables.

Talk to your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or health practitioner about your eligibility for COVID-19 antiviral medicines. Read more about free COVID medicines.

People with a high risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19, people aged 65 or over, Māori or Pacific people aged 50 or over are eligible.

Whooping cough and flu / respiratory illness

If you have a sick child with breathing difficulties, seek medical care from your doctor immediately. You can call Healthline anytime on 0800 611 116 for free health advice and information.

A baby or child that has difficulty breathing could have the flu, whooping cough or another illness - which can make them sick very quickly.

Symptoms can also include fever, cough (can turn into a coughing attack, with vomiting and sometimes has a whoop sound) and a runny nose. Please seek medical advice if your child has any of these symptoms or has had a cough for two weeks or more.

Please keep your child at home if they are sick or awaiting whooping cough test results. Please don’t visit young babies if you are sick this winter. Flu and whooping cough are very infectious, and babies can get very sick from them quickly.

Vaccination saves lives

Free flu vaccines are now available from GP clinics and selected pharmacies for everyone aged 65 and over or for people who are most at risk if they get flu.  

Vaccination is one of the most important ways we can protect ourselves, our whānau and our communities from many infectious diseases.

    Even healthy people get the flu, and it can be serious. A flu vaccination is one of the best ways to stay well.

    • Make sure you have all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine – it will protect you from the worst effects of COVID-19. Find out more about COVID-19 booster vaccines and eligibility on the COVID-19 Health Hub,
    • Check that your family are up to date with their routine vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Some people missed their routine MMR immunisations due to COVID-19 and will not be protected from this highly contagious illness.
    • For more information on immunising your child visit the immunise website 

    Vaccinations are available at clinics, GPs and pharmacies throughout our region. 

    Find a clinic that accepts walk-ins (for COVID-19 and Flu) or book through Book My Vaccine.

    Look after your mental wellbeing

    The change of seasons can also be hard on our mental health. It is important to look after our wairua (spirit), hinengaro (mind), relationships and overall wellbeing.

    There are a number of simple things you can do every day to support your mental wellbeing:

    • Stay connected with friends and whānau.
    • Stick to a schedule or routine as best you can.
    • Move your body daily.
    • Get outside and spend time in nature.
    • Limit your time online and the amount of news you follow.
    • Notice and appreciate small moments of joy.
    • Avoid alcohol and drugs as these can make things worse.

    Find more information and advice on our mental health services webpage.  

    If you’re feeling stressed, down or overwhelmed or just need someone to talk to, free call or text 1737 any time to talk to a trained counsellor. You can also visit for a wide range of resources.

    COVID-19 is still a risk this summer

    Find advice on isolation, care and support on the COVID-19 Health Hub or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

    If you test positive for COVID-19, here’s what to do:

    • Monitor and manage your symptoms: people with COVID-19, especially if they are fully immunised and boosted, are likely to have a mild to moderate illness and can recover at home. Symptoms for COVID-19 tend to show 2 to 5 days after a person has been infected.
    • It is recommended you isolate for at least 5 days, even if you only have mild symptoms, starting at Day 0, the day your symptoms started or when you tested positive, whichever came first. This includes if you have had COVID-19 before.
    • If you have taken a rapid antigen test (RAT), report your positive result online or by calling the helpline.
      • Online: My Covid Record
      • Call: 0800 222 478
      • It’s a good idea to have a plan for how you can look after yourself during your isolation period as well as keep others safe, especially if you are isolating at a place away from home.
      • For more information on COVID-19 please visit:


    Call 0800 358 54 53 for free COVID-19 health advice, any time, any day, including public holidays. Interpreter support is available.