Canterbury Information & advice
As a major tourist gateway and the South Island's major city, Canterbury is constantly welcoming short- and long-term visitors from all over the world. It's well set up for new arrivals with an excellent range of community services and organisations.
Immigration New Zealand - Information for new migrants
Immigration New Zealand offers a free information service for all new migrants available throughout the country.
If you have questions about life in New Zealand, you can call the Immigration New Zealand Contact Centre on
Freephone: 0800 776 948 (NZ fixed landline only)
From overseas or a mobile phone: +64 9 969 0591
Migrant Connect information service
For newcomers to New Zealand, selected Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) provide a walk-in information service. You probably have lots of questions about how things work here. CAB can help or provide you with information on where to find the answers.
As well as helping with your settlement queries, CAB run information sessions for new migrants on relevant settlement topics.
CAB North Canterbury
Trevor Inch Memorial Library, 141 Percival Street, Rangiora 7400
Monday – Friday 9am - 4.30pm, Saturday 10am-1pm
CAB Christchurch City
Ara building, 18 Williams Street (Corner Ferry Road and Williams Street), Christchurch 8011
Monday and Friday 9am - 12pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9am - 3pm
CAB Christchurch West
Hornby Community Care Centre, 8 Goulding Avenue, Hornby, Christchurch 8042
Monday – Friday 9am - 5pm
CAB Christchurch North
Fendalton Library, Cnr Clyde and Jeffreys Roads, Fendalton, Christchurch 8052
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 11am - 5pm, Tuesday 2pm - 5pm
Many areas offer a service called the ‘Newcomers Network’. Each network works slightly differently, but they’re all great ways to meet new people, find out about local events and get connected with your local community. If there’s not one in your area, the national body will give you all the help and support you need to start one.
Christchurch Migrant Centre
The Christchurch Migrant Centre supports migrants, former refugees and people from minority ethnicities in the Canterbury region with their settlement process. Check their website for more details.
Timaru District Multi-ethnic Council
Timaru District Multi Ethnic Council supports and celebrates all ethnic minorities in the region and works to bring understanding and harmony for all cultures.
Christchurch Multicultural Council
The Christchurch Multicultural Council have an office in the city centre, and have meetings and social gatherings for migrants. Find their phone and email contact details on the Federation of Multicultural council website.
Waitaki Newcomers Support Centre
The Waitaki Newcomers Support Centre is in Oamaru. Contact the Migrant Support Co-ordinator and visit their Facebook page for more information.
Local libraries, run by district councils, are always a good place to go to find information about activities in your local community. And of course they have hundreds of books, eBooks, CDs and DVDs you can borrow. There is commonly also free internet access at most libraries and some have wireless internet.
For the location of your local library, check the website of your district council or visit this site.
Canterbury has a number of groups representing a wide range of ethnic groups in the area. Check them out on the Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) site.
Rotaract is for young professionals aged 18 to 35 who get out and volunteer in the community, network and have fun.
Wondering what to do in Canterbury - what attractions to see, adventures to try, routes to take? The Tourism New Zealand site has all the information you need, plus help with travelling further afield in New Zealand including finding transport and accommodation.
Community Law Centres
If you need legal assistance, you can start with your local Community Law Centre. They have lawyers and advocates who can give you initial legal help so you can deal with the issue quickly, which may be free depending on your ability to pay. They may also be able to represent you in courts or tribunals.
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
Cities and most towns across New Zealand have a local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). It’s a place where you’ll find someone who can provide information, advice and support on just about any problem you may have. They can also help in over 20 different languages through CAB Language Connect.
If you need help with an immigration matter, you should talk either to a lawyer experienced in the field or to a licensed immigration adviser. There are a number of registered immigration advisors in the Canterbury region. Find them using the online register operated by the Immigration Advisers Authority.
Budget and financial services
If you’re facing financial difficulties, you may need assistance with creating a personalised budget or advice from a financial advisor. They can give you tools, knowledge and advice to help you manage your money better. You may also find answers to your money questions on the Sorted website.
There is a range of budgeting help found in the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) directory.
The New Zealand Federation of Budgeting Services maintains a list of its professional members and their contact details.
Parents Centres offer support in all areas of parenting, from helping parents develop practical skills in baby and toddler care to preparing for the school years and crisis help.
Toy Library Federation of New Zealand
Toy Libraries offer a range of quality toys, puzzles, games and learning activities for members to hire for a set period of time. Caters for 0 - 8 years.