Hospital visiting guidelines updated 20 July 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for detailed information about hospital visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests and care in the community advice. See for information about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
20 July 2022

Mask exemptions accepted for people seeking treatment
Any member of the public with a mask exemption is welcome in all our facilities when attending to receive health care and *treatment. Please show your mask exemption card and appointment letter to staff at the entrance.

*Treatment includes: coming into the Emergency Department, outpatient appointments,  surgery or a procedure.

For visitors to all facilities effective from Wednesday 20 July 2022

With the recent resurgence in cases in Canterbury, largely due to the Omicron BA.5 subvariant we are seeing an increase in demand right across the health system. Presentations to our Christchurch ED and Ashburton’s AAU are higher than ever and admission rates are high, which means we have a shortage of resourced beds.

Recently, we have seen too many unwell people coming to visit someone in hospital and too many that cannot or will not wear a medical mask. This increases the risk to vulnerable people in hospital. For these reasons we need to everything we can to minimise these risks.

We have therefore tightened visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

  • One visitor per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.
  • No visitors under 16 to any part of our facilities.
  • No visitors to COVID +ve patients other than in exceptional circumstances.
  • No eating or drinking at the bedside or anywhere other than cafes or areas designated for eating/drinking, as taking your mask off puts patients at risk.
  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms (even if they have tested negative) or have had a recent tummy bug.
  • Do not visit if you are COVID +ve or a household contact of someone who has tested positive
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all sites and will be provided if people don’t have them. Mask exemptions do not apply in our facilities – people who cannot tolerate a mask cannot visit at this time.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By sticking to the rules above, you help keep our patients, staff, other visitors and yourself safe. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as our staff work hard to protect and care for some of the most vulnerable in our community.

Exceptions to the ‘one visitor’ policy

  • Exceptions can apply in some circumstances where trusted whānau members provide assistance, reassurance and other support for therapeutic care or on compassionate grounds – please talk to the ward’s Charge Nurse to discuss this before you come to hospital to visit. For whānau with an essential support role as a Partner in Care – again, please check with the ward’s Charge Nurse before you come to hospital to visit.
  • People attending Christchurch ED or Ashburton AAU can have one support person with them.
  • Women in labour and in the birthing suite can have two named support people + their community LMC/midwife if they have one – for the duration of the birth only. All other women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Women’s Hospital and other maternity units. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments. No under 16s are allowed to visit or attend appointments.
  • Parents/caregivers can be with their baby in NICU.
  • Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital (Except Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day patients where only one parent or caregiver is permitted).
  • People requiring support when attending an appointment can have one support person. Please let the relevant service know if you need this so they are able to accommodate your request.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • To avoid them becoming infected with COVID-19 and passing it one, visitors to COVID-19 positive patients will not be allowed except in extenuating circumstances – by prior agreement with the Charge Nurse Manager only, and wearing an N95 mask.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, facetime, zoom etc.

You must NOT visit the hospital if you

  • are a household contact of a COVID-19 positive case
  • are COVID-19 positive
  • Have a cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you are testing negative for COVID-19)

Exceptions for people with disabilities

An exception will be made for people with disabilities who are in hospital or have to attend an outpatient appointment – where they need a support person to access health services. For example, a sign language interpreter, support person for someone with a learning disability, or someone to assist with mobility. The support person is in addition to the one permitted visitor.

Everyone visiting our facilities must wear a mask, no exceptions

While we appreciate that some people have legitimate reasons for being exempt from wearing a mask and may even have an official card to confirm this, people who cannot or will not wear a mask cannot visit someone in hospital or attend hospital, other than to access healthcare treatment*. This is another measure to minimise the risk to vulnerable patients.

*healthcare treatment includes: Emergency Department care, outpatient appointments, surgery or a procedure. 

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

Manawa building blessed in Christchurch’s Health Precinct

Friday 6 July 2018Media release5 minutes to read

Manawa, the state-of-the-art hub for health research and education in Christchurch’s Health Precinct, held a short blessing ceremony this morning (6 July), ahead of opening its doors to health students, researchers, educators and technical staff in the coming weeks.

Manawa, the health research and education facility, is a collaboration between Christchurch’s health and tertiary education sectors, bringing together the Canterbury District Health Board (Canterbury DHB), Ara Institute of Canterbury and University of Canterbury (UC).

Staff from all three organisations attended the blessing, alongside local hapu leadership, with representatives from building developers New Urban Group, architects Sheppard & Rout, Southbase Construction and many other organisations involved in the project.

Canterbury DHB, Ara and UC will share the building to help create and train the health workforce of the future, in particular nurses, medical imaging specialists and midwifes as well as postgraduate health researchers and current health professionals, building on existing relationships.

On the doorstep of Christchurch Hospital and at the heart of the Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct, Manawa will provide students with easy access to educational and clinical resources. It will enable clinicians and students to flow freely between the hospital and education and research spaces, and ensure knowledge transfer from and into the clinical settings.

“Manawa will allow our programmes and our people to grow and develop, and will deliver better outcomes for students, for patients, for health professionals and for the sustainable future of the health sector in Canterbury and New Zealand,” Ara Chief Executive Tony Gray says.

As well as lecture rooms and flexible learning spaces, tutorials and large group sessions, a simulation floor will enable large-scale simulations in real world healthcare environments and access to advanced clinical equipment that students would normally only see during placements.

The Health Research and Education partnership group worked with cultural consultant Te Pākura Ltd to engage with local iwi to cloak this facility with a bespoke cultural narrative, from which emerged the name and a suite of designs that speak to this narrative. The name ‘Manawa’ means heart, patience or breath on its own. It is, however, taken from the proverb ‘Manawa whenua; Manawa tangata’ which reminds us of the intimate link between the health of our fresh water (manawa whenua) and the health of people (manawa tangata).

“Manawa offers an exciting opportunity for the University of Canterbury to further its interdisciplinary research and education focused on the healthy wellbeing of our people. UC’s postgraduate students and researchers within our School of Health Sciences and those associated with the new UC Child Well-being Research Institute will particularly benefit from being at the heart of Te Papa Hauora Health precinct,” says Professor Gail Gillon, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the College of Education Health and Human Development at the University of Canterbury.

Different groups will begin their training in the new facilities during July and August. Ara midwifery and medical imaging students will begin classes on 16 July while nursing students will move to the new campus ready for term 4. An official opening is being planned for October.

Stella Ward, Canterbury DHB Executive Director of Allied Health, Scientific & Technical, Chief Digital Officer and Executive Lead of the Health Precinct Advisory Council says: “Prior to the Canterbury earthquakes, we had already identified challenges with the teaching and simulation facilities we had at that time, and the pressing need to provide for the evolving requirements of our health workforce into the future. The Health Precinct concept provided an amazing opportunity for us to quite literally come together in this fantastic, state-of-the-art facility as the new home for our region’s health education and research activities. We have had great working relationships with both Ara and UC and co-location will enhance these. We are looking forward to welcoming, and working with our new neighbours.”

Manawa – background information


Prior to the major earthquake events in Canterbury, the Canterbury DHB had already identified significant issues with teaching and simulation rooms not being fit for purpose and an increasing need for space to address future workforce requirements.

As a result of the quakes, 79% of training/education sessions were affected due to the loss of training rooms.

The earthquakes provided the Canterbury region with a unique opportunity to develop the Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct directly adjacent to the hospital campus. This led to the new Manawa development, which sits within the designated land for the Health Precinct.

To meet the increased care needs of an ageing population, Business & Economic Research Ltd (BERL) predict an additional 2686 graduate nurses are required across New Zealand by 2035. This equates to 107 more nursing graduates per annum between 2010 and 2035.


Manawa is a six-storey building built to the very latest seismic building standards. It contains simulation suites including ward areas, a mock operating theatre and a home environment. It also features lecture rooms and flexible learning spaces for supervision, tutorials and large group sessions.

Manawa will provide full time training to 1800 Ara students at any one time and specialist training across 8000 Canterbury DHB staff. UC postgraduate researchers will occupy space on the fourth floor.

Ara and Canterbury DHB will share around 7,500m2 of space in the building.

Developers: New Urban Group and Huadu International

Building architects: Sheppard and Rout

Interior architects: Noordanus

Construction: Southbase

Project management: The Building Intelligence Group

Cultural Consultant: Te Pākura Ltd

Healthcare training at Ara:

Ara Institute of Canterbury is home to one of New Zealand’s largest nursing and allied health departments with students across a range of programmes at diploma, degree, graduate and postgraduate levels. Nursing training has been offered at Ara (then Christchurch Technical Institute) since 1973.

Ara was created in 2016 when education providers CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic merged, bringing together two well-established organisations and over 200 years of collective experience and success. Ara is the Māori word for path or journey.

Ara has campuses in Christchurch City, Woolston, Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru, online/e-campus, community hubs in New Brighton, Bishopdale, Hornby and Rangiora, and now also Manawa.



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Page last updated: 20 December 2018

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