Support for people


​​​​​​​​​Need help?

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

Covid-19 government offcial update site 

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?​


If you're interested in volunteering to help others in Otago get through 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:​

Jobs available

The following agencies are operational, providing services to job seekers and local businesses looking for staff. 

  • 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.

Changes to Work visa Rules

The Government has made short term changes to visa settings that will assist two more groups of migrants already in New Zealand to stay lawfully.  These changes are being implemented using new powers of the Minister of Immigration through a special direction.

  • Employer-assisted work visa extension aligned for partners and dep​endants

ImmigrationNZ will apply the same expiry date extension of employer-assisted work visas made in July 2020 to the partners and dependants of the principal visa holder if their visa would have expired from 17 August to 31 December 2020.  Visa holders or their advisors will receive an email from Immigration New Zealand confirming the visa extension by Tuesday 25 August.  The extension does not apply if you made  a new visa application and been granted an interim visa. If you had made a new application you may withdraw your application and request a refund. Refunds are considered on a case-by-case basis.

More information: Work visa extension ​aligned for partners and dependants​​

  • Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Worker visa extension
ImmigrationNZ will extend Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme visas by six months for those expiring from 18 August to 31 December 2020. This allows workers the opportunity to stay and work in New Zealand and give employers more certainty about worker availability for the coming season.

More information: Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) visas extended​​

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.

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: 25 Aug 2020 9:40am