Support for people


​​​​​​​​Need help?

General information for vulnerable people is available on the COVID-19 government website​.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Covid-19 government offcial update site 

If you are a vulnerable and do not have support getting the necessary essentials (e.g. groceries, medicines etc), assistance is available. Please contact the Otago COVID 19 Help Centre 0800 322 4000 or email This help centre will operate 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm.​

Countdown supermarket is offering priority online shopping for those more vulnerable.​​

Mental health and wellbeing​

Wellbeing is a continuum and we’re likely to find ourselves at various points over the coming weeks and months. As well as our resources on the COVID-19 website​, there is lots of useful information online through organisations including the Mental Health Foundation ( and the Health Promotion Agency (​). ​​

Support organisations

A number of organisations are continuing to operate to support people during the Covid19 crisis .

  • are still operating the FAMILY START service during this time, to provide support to vulnerable familiews with young children aged 0-3 years, covering areas such as family violence, mental health, and drug/alcohol use.  Contact: Sue Dundass,, T: 027 603 1145, W:​

Want to help?​


Some information for Volunteers is here: Information for community groups wishing to help.pdf​ (220MB)

If you're interested in volunteering to help others in Otago get through during the COVID-19 emergency, Volunteering Otago are coordinating offers of help on our behalf. They’re the experts when it comes to coordinating volunteers so please fill in this form to register your interest:​

The Southern DHB is asking for volunteers who are health professionals. These people should register their interest:​​​​

Helping friends and family:

​If you are assisting friends or family members who are at risk of health complications from COVID-19 you must take precautions:

  • Leave groceries at the door, rather than come in which will protect vulnerable people from exposure to COVID-19. 
  • Stay at least two metres away.
  • Use phones or online ways to keep in communication with those you are supporting​​.

Jobs available

The following agencies are operational, providing services to job seekers and local businesses looking for staff.  Please be mindful that vulnerable people, or people who are in a ‘bubble’ with vulnerable people should not be working at this time.

  • Nikita Cunningham│Work Broker│Ministry of Social Development: DDI 03 9042953  | Cell 029 6500300 ​
  • Workbridge ( is available to help people prepare and look for work by working with clients via phone and the internet .  Please contact Sandra Familton (​, M: 021 190 2418) or Dawn Ewing (, M:021 442 725).​
  • Work Assist -APM: We know it’s a difficult job market in these times, especially if you’re suddenly unemployed. The time is now to start preparing for your next job, polishing up your CV and applications, look at your transferable skills and any training/upskilling. This service is free for you and employers. Click on this link​ to find out more.


Support from Banks

All the major New Zealand banks are providing support to their customers, and you can visit their websites for more information:

NOTE: With mortgage or loan deferrals, interest is still  charged and added to the loan, meaning your loan balance will increase, and you’ll likely pay more interest overall, but at a later date. Afterwards your repayments will likely be higher unless the loan term is extended.

Delivery Services

​A number of websites have been established to inform people about which businesses are offering delivery of products if you feel unsafe going out.

Paying it forward to local business

A national not-for-profit initiative has been started to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Supporters buy a  voucher now to be redeemed once the business reopens.  Several Waitaki business are listed.

Website address:​


Page reviewed: 13 May 2020 10:27pm