Support for Asian Communities

Connecting Asian communities to COVID-19 information and resources

Ni hao, namaste, anyong haseyo, konnichiwa, xin chao, sawasdee kha, sawasdee khrap and greetings to you all.

We are in this together


For many Asian or migrant communities there is a lot of concern about loved ones both near and far. For some of you, like recent migrants or international students, this could mean being on your own in student accommodation or a shared flat.

Whatever your circumstances, and regardless of your nationality or ethnic background, we are in this together. If you are struggling, please reach out, because collectively we are stronger.

Taking care of yourself and others


It is normal to feel stressed or lonely at this time, but there are things you can do to feel better – like connecting with other people. This is important for keeping up your wellbeing and can help you feel better. See the 5 Ways to Wellbeing video or check out the Getting Through Together campaign.

With all the COVID-19 media coverage, being exposed to repeated negative information can be upsetting. While it’s important to stay informed, you may find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family.

There is a lot of information around about COVID-19, so when others share information with you, their facts might not always be accurate. Your best source of truth is the official Government website – COVID19.org.nz.

Don’t forget to continue to check-in on neighbours, older persons, and those who are unwell. Remember to keep a safe distance of two metres from other people at all times.

Chinese Proverb

"When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills."

Support is available


All health services are open, but you will need to call ahead first. If you have a health issue or long-term health condition reach out to your GP or other health professionals. If you or someone you know is severely unwell, call 111.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (or international +64 9 358 5453).

If you are struggling to cope, and feel anxious or down please talk to someone you trust. Don’t keep these feelings to yourself. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 – free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.

Asian Family Services (AFS) is working with Asian families during COVID-19. AFS provides free, professional and confidential phone or online counselling in a range of languages – English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Hindi.

AFS run the Asian Helpline (0800 862 342) which operates from 9am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and has a team of qualified counsellors providing culturally and linguistically appropriate support. Counselling is available by email as well. You can also find AFS on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

For Chinese communities, you can connect via WeChat (scan the QR code below with your mobile phone). There are weekly mental health and wellbeing articles to help you get through this time.

Access to government services


There are many key government services who can help you at this time.

Civil Defence can help you in your local area if you need supplies and do not have family or friends who can help.

Immigration New Zealand has developed a COVID-19 Migrant and Refugee Information webpage to provide links to key information and for recent migrants and refugees in their preferred language.

NauMai NZ is a one-stop information platform to inform and support international students when living and studying in New Zealand. This is an official government website with everything gathered together and written in plain English.

Unite against COVID-19 has everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place, learn the simple steps you can take to unite against the virus and slow its spread. Information is updated all the time, for example this information on Ramadan.

The following webpages have information on employment and financial support:

  • Work and Income
  • Essential Workers Leave Support for people working in an essential service who may be in situations where they need to stay away from work and cannot work from home.
  • The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment has a wider list of government links.
  • Employment New Zealand provides advice on their website and for employment-related queries, or you can phone them on 0800 20 90 20. Interpreters are available for over 180 different languages.
  • Know your employment rights is available in 20 languages.
  • Minimum rights of employees has information on minimum employment rights and responsibilities is available in a range of languages.

If you see it, report it


Some Asian or migrant communities have experienced racial discrimination, and it is not acceptable. If you experience, or see others experience racial discrimination you can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission. This page is set up to provide language and culture-specific information for you or your loved one.

Immigration New Zealand want to hear from you about any concerns and issues you are aware of (specific to recent migrant and refugee communities). They would also like to know what information and resources you may need. Please email them your feedback.

If you believe your employer is receiving the COVID-19 wage subsidy, but not meeting the conditions they agreed to, there are steps to resolve your concerns or make a complaint.

Access to an interpreter


Remember if you need access to an interpreter the government’s helplines are available in over 180 different languages. When you call a helpline ask for an interpreter by telling them the language you speak, you will then be connected to a professional interpreter who will help you talk to the service.

Auckland-based services


Belong Aotearoa supports thousands of newcomers, migrants and refugees who have settled in Auckland. It has been a place in which these communities can learn skills, gain experience and opportunities.

CNSST Foundation offers a range of services including new migrant settlement orientation and support, educational and work programmes, recruitment services for both job seekers and employers, community initiatives, and social housing.

Shakti is a non-profit organisation serving migrant and refugee women of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin. Shakti, meaning strength, works towards a world where women and children are empowered to live a life of dignity free from fear and violence and are able to exercise their rights, choices and responsibilities.

The Asian Network Incorporated (TANI) supports Asian New Zealanders to develop strong and healthy Asian communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Finding other ethnic-specific services


Try these directories for services in your region:

Download the NZ COVID Tracer app


Mobile app coming soon

Download available here: https://tracing.covid19.govt.nz

The quicker we can contact people who might have come into contact with COVID-19, the quicker we can stop the spread of the virus.

Here’s how you can help support contact tracing

  • Sign up today
  • Share your up-to-date contact information
  • Scan NZ COVID Tracer posters to keep track of where you’ve been
  • Ask your whānau, friends and workmates to join in

Don't have a smartphone?

You can still register online to share your latest contact information.

For more information, head to https://tracing.covid19.govt.nz

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