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Health and Safety

Care about your health? You have chosen well.

Best health and safety practices

Get insured

All international students are required by the New Zealand Ministry of Education to be covered by appropriate and current medical and travel insurance. Ensure your insurance covers you for the duration of your period of study in New Zealand.

It’s strongly recommended that you purchase coverage before your move to New Zealand as this will help if you get sick or injured when you arrive. Shop around, compare policies and providers to make sure you’re protected with the student health insurance that’s best for you.

Medication and Pharmacy

The availability and use of medication in New Zealand are restricted in a number of ways. You can purchase some medicines for symptomatic relief of common illnesses in supermarkets but there’s another group of medication that can only be purchased at a pharmacy as you’ll require advice about the medication at the time of purchase.

These are known as pharmacy only medicines and you won’t need a doctor’s prescription to purchase them. Prescription only medicines, however, can only be purchased at a pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription and you must have seen a doctor first to get the prescription. 


If there is an emergency, call 111. Tell the operator, which of the following services you need. If you don’t speak English, inform the operator your language and wait for instructions. Calls to 111 are free of charge and you can call this number on a mobile phone even if the phone is out of credit.

New Zealand Police

Fire Service

Ambulance Services: St John Ambulance Services I Wellington Free Ambulance Services

Civil Defence

What is an emergency?

Call 111 in these situations:

  • Chemical spill or fire
  • Medical emergency
  • Someone is badly injured or in danger
  • A serious risk to life or property
  • A crime is being committed and the offenders are still there or have just left
  • You have come across a major public disruption, like trees blocking a road
  • A dangerous situation is happening now or has just happened.

If you’re not sure about the situation but are still worried, call 111 and ask the operator. They will help you figure out what to do. If it’s a medical issue, call Healthline on 0800 611 116. To report a traffic incident, you can call *555 from your mobile phone.

Safety tips

New Zealand is generally a safe and easy country to live in but it’s wise to know what to do if there’s trouble and what you can do to avoid it.

New Zealand Police has several tips to help you and your family keep safe. Some of the subjects covered include: 

  • Keeping yourself and your home safe
  • Avoiding scams
  • Keeping safe when you’re out and about
  • Keeping safe in your car
  • Educating your children about alcohol and drugs 
  • Managing parties with teenagers 
  • Keeping your children safe

Health Tips

  • Protect your skin by applying sunscreen before you go outside. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and reapply it frequently if you can.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim or protective flaps
  • Use close-fitting, good UV protection sunglasses
  • There’s no escape on cloudy and overcast days as you can still get burnt. Make sure you’re always protected. 
  • Our bodies still need to stay hydrated regardless of the weather and all the same demands of water apply. 

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