Last updated Thursday 18 February 2021


Tāmaki Makaurau has joined the rest of Aotearoa at Level 1, midnight at Monday 22 February. 

If you or your whānau feel unwell, please stay home and contact your GP as soon as possible. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, call Healthline 0800 611 116. The most common symptoms include fever (high temperature), dry cough and tiredness.

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COVID-19 Whānau FAQs .

Level 1 - Aotearoa

The rest of Aotearoa is at Alert Level 1. 

  1. What restrictions are there at Level 1?

At Alert Level 1 we all need to be ready in case COVID-19 reappears in our community.

  • You MUST wear a mask on all flights and public transport (wearing face coverings on ride share services such as Uber is encouraged, but not compulsory) during Level 1.
  • You should wear a mask if you can when you are out and about and amongst others where it may be hard to maintain social distancing.
  • Gatherings are not restricted but social distancing and mask wearing is encouraged when you are around people you don’t know. Please see the webpage for more information on tangihanga: http://ngatiwhatuaorakei.com/tangihanga-during-covid-19/
  • Practice good hygiene – stay home if sick, wash your hands often with soap and dry them thoroughly, cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Check the Government website for more information and updates: https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/alert-level-2/

As at Wednesday 23 February 2021


  1. What are the symptoms of the COVID-19 virus?

The symptoms include a cough, fever, shortness of breath, sneezing or a runny nose. These symptoms are also often a sign you have a cold of the common flu. This table, produced by the team at The Spinoff in April last year, is a useful guide to COVID-19 symptoms:

  1. What do I do if I think I have the virus?

Call 111 immediately if you or someone in your household is having a medical emergency.

If you are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms you should self-isolate from the rest of your household and call your regular doctor or, if you don’t have a regular doctor, call the free Healthline on 0800 358 5453, and self-isolate. There is good guidance on self-isolation on the Government’s COVID-19 information website:


  1. How can I get a test for COVID-19?

 You will only be tested for COVID-19 if you have the symptoms described above or have been instructed to have a test because you visited one of the locations of interest. If you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms, have not visited a location of interest or do not work in a risk area, do NOT present for a COVID-19 test.

If you do have COVID-19 symptoms, call your regular doctor. If you don’t have a regular doctor, call the free Healthline on 0800 358 5453. Either your regular doctor or the Healthline will be able to give you a referral to a testing station for a test.

  1. Where can I get help if I’m struggling to cope?

Reach out to your regular support people such as family, friends or your Church elders and check out the awesome resources on the NWO Whānau Hub: https://ngatiwhatuaorakei.com/nwo-lockdown/. Otherwise, you can call or text 1737 for free, anytime (24/7) to talk with a trained counsellor.  There is good guidance on keeping mentally well on the Government’s COVID-19 information website: https://covid19.govt.nz/help-and-advice/for-everyone/looking-after-your-mental-health/

If you work, your employer may be part of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which provides free counselling sessions for employees. Your employer will be able to provide you with their EAP details.

As at Wednesday 17 February 2021

Work - Employees

  1. Can my employer make me come into work?

Yes. Talk to your employer about the measures they’ve put in place to keep you safe – these include following the Government’s golden rules for business at alert level 2, which include social distancing, enabling good hand hygiene, frequently cleaning your work spaces, and masks and PPE.

If you are in the vulnerable group or unwell you should continue to stay at home. Talk to your employer and, if you’re not sure if you’re vulnerable, talk to your doctor, they may be able to give you a medical certificate if you need one to stay home (and your employer will have to pay for it if they require you to come into work and you think you’re vulnerable). If you don’t think your employer’s health and safety measures are enough to keep you safe, talk to your health and safety rep, union, or WorkSafe.

  1. Does my employer have to pay me?

Yes, any changes or reductions to hours, tasks or pay outside your employment agreement need to be agreed with you and recorded in writing. If you can’t agree, your employer must go through a fair and proper process to restructure your hours, tasks or pay in consultation with you. 

  1. Can my employer make me take annual leave?

Yes, but only if you have accrued the leave (check your payslip) and only if they give you two weeks’ notice. You can agree another arrangement with your employer, but you must treat each other with good faith.

  1. Where can I find out what my rights as an employee are?

Community Law has put together an excellent flow chart to help you understand your rights as an employee: https://socialink.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Employment_flowchart_2_April_2020_v1.pdf

As at Wednesday 17 February 2021

Work - Employers

  1. Where can I find information about my obligations as an employer?

The Government’s Employment website is the best place to go for up to date advice on your obligations and rights as an employer: https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/other-types-of-leave/coronavirus-workplace/

If in doubt, get legal advice.

  1. If I operate in Level 2, what do I have to do to keep people safe?

You can operate so long as you comply with the Government’s “Golden Rules” for safe operation and you’ll need a COVID-19 safety plan that sets out how you’ll operate safely.

The Golden Rules require you to keep your kaimahi and the public safe by limiting face-to-face contact and reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 using measures such as physical distancing and additional hygiene protocols:

  • Encourage alternative ways of working if possible (such as work from home).
  • Keep contact tracing records of anyone who has close interaction, for example staff and contractors.
  • You MUST display the government QR code poster for use with the NZ COVID Tracer App, at no more than 1.3 metres above ground level so it can easily be accessed by people using wheelchairs.
  • Keep workers 1m apart and keep customers in retail businesses 2m apart
  • Reduce the number of shared surfaces
  • Basic hygiene measures must be maintained. Physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces.
  • Kaimahi must stay home if they are sick.
  • You must meet all your other health and safety obligations as usual.

Check the health.govt.nz website or https://covid19.govt.nz/business-work-and-money/business/doing-business-at-alert-level-2/ for advice. WorkSafe has some excellent guides on your health and safety obligations to your kaimahi and on keeping them safe during this period: https://worksafe.govt.nz/

  1. Do I have health and safety obligations to kaimahi if they’re working from home?

 Yes, you still have the usual health and safety obligations to your kaimahi while they are working remotely. WorkSafe has some excellent guides on your health and safety obligations to your employees and on keeping employees safe during this period: https://worksafe.govt.nz/

As at Wednesday 17 February 2021

Download the NZ COVID Tracer App.

Fast and effective contact tracing is 1 way we can all work together to prevent any further spread of COVID-19 in Aotearoa.

NZ COVID Tracer Mobile App.

Unite against COVID-19 with Bluetooth tracing

Did you know that the NZ COVID Tracer Mobile App now includes Bluetooth tracing. This means it will be able to alert you when you’ve been near another app user who tests positive for COVID-19.

What do I need to do?

Once the update has been installed, you will be able to turn on Bluetooth Tracing. If your phone is compatible, it will ask for permission to use your phone’s Exposure Notification System. This is entirely optional but strongly recommended.

If you have an Android phone, it might take a few minutes for it to confirm whether your device supports Bluetooth tracing. Please be patient and check back later if you need to. You can read more about compatibility requirements for Bluetooth tracing on our website.

Do I still need to scan the QR codes?

Yes, whether or not you choose to participate in Bluetooth tracing, you should also continue to scan the official QR codes wherever you see them.

QR codes allow us to create a private record of the places we’ve been, while Bluetooth tracing allows us to create an anonymised record of the people we’ve been near. Both are important for contact tracing.

What is Bluetooth tracing?

Bluetooth tracing uses radio waves to allow your phone to securely exchange randomised ‘keys’ with other nearby phones up to around 2 metres away.

When an app user tests positive for COVID-19, the contact tracing team will ask them to upload their Bluetooth keys. If you were near enough to that person for long enough to be at risk of exposure, you will receive a Bluetooth alert.

The Bluetooth alert will give you advice on what you need to do to protect yourself and your whānau to help stop the spread of the virus.

Watch a short video here for an overview of Bluetooth tracing.

Does Bluetooth tracing affect my privacy?

Protecting your privacy has been one of our top priorities throughout the development of NZ COVID Tracer.

Bluetooth tracing doesn’t involve exchanging any identifying information. Anyone who receives a Bluetooth alert won’t know who sent it or where they were when they were exposed to the virus.

Similarly, your digital diary of scanned QR codes and manual entries is stored securely on your phone where only you can see it.

The app has been endorsed by the Privacy Commissioner due to its focus on privacy.

We have also released the source code so you can see for yourself how the app manages your data.

Will Bluetooth tracing work on my phone?

Bluetooth tracing requires iOS 13.5+ on iPhones or Android 6.0+ on other phones. Phones with Android must also support Bluetooth Low Energy and have access to Google Play Services.

If your phone does not support Bluetooth tracing, you can still scan the QR codes to keep a private record of the places you visit, and will still receive location alerts if you have them enabled.

How do I update the app?

NZ COVID Tracer will update by itself if you have automatic updates enabled.

You can also manually update the app through the App Store (for iPhones) or the Play Store (other phones). Instructions can be found on the Ministry’s website.

Where can I find out more?

If you experience any problems using the app, please contact the app support team at help@covidtracer.min.health.nz or on 0800 800 606.

Whānau support.

Ōrākei Health.

Whānau Hub.





Released Tuesday 26 May 2020.

Released Thursday 4 June 2020.

Released Friday 5 June 2020.

Released Tuesday 7 April 2020.


Helpful Links

Official NZ Govt Website.

Latest from the Beehive.

COVID-19 Advice for Māori.

Info and resources specifically for Māori about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mental Health Foundation.

Looking after mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19.

Ministry of Health.

Latest updates, information and advice on COVID-19.


COVID-19 information for students getting Student Allowance or Student Loan.

Work and Income.

Support for employers during COVID-19.


Call Healthline for health advice and information.

Financial Support.

Support is available if you are experiencing financial distress.

Our communication lines are still open.

Call our friendly team on 0508 NW Ōrākei (0508 6967 2534).

Email us at info@nwo.iwi.nz


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