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

New Health Precinct Advisory Council Chair Appointed

Wednesday 19 June 2019Media release4 minutes to read

Peter Townsend will take up the reigns of Independent Chair of the Health Advisory Council from July this year

Peter Townsend will take up the reigns of Independent Chair of the Health Advisory Council from July this year

Canterbury DHB Chief Executive Officer David Meates has today announced the appointment of well-known Cantabrian Peter Townsend, CNZM as Independent Chair of the Health Precinct Advisory Council.

“Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct is the hub of a creative and inspiring network that integrates world class healthcare, research and innovation, education and industry in Canterbury. The Advisory Council’s purpose is to facilitate action by key stakeholders, who have an interest in the success of the Health Precinct, to drive this vision.

“On behalf of all the partners, I am delighted to announce Peter Townsend as the Advisory Council’s new Independent Chair. Peter has an intimate understanding of Canterbury and its people and will bring a wealth of experience to the role.

“Peter has been a constant figure in Canterbury’s development and regeneration for more than 20 years. He currently serves as Director of Crown-owned Ōtākaro, which is responsible for delivering key Anchor Projects in central Christchurch, and Director and Board Chair of Pegasus Health (Charitable) Ltd.

“Peter was Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce for 21 years and was instrumental in guiding the organisation through the difficult times of the Canterbury earthquakes. He is a tireless advocate for Canterbury and always has the region’s best interests at heart in any role he fulfils.

“He is a great fit for the role of Independent Chair, as the Advisory Council continues its contribution to the development of Christchurch’s Te Papa Hauora,” says David Meates.

Peter says he is thrilled to have this opportunity to lead the next phase of development for the Advisory Council and build on the tremendous work that has already achieved by the group since its inception in 2014.

“Te Papa Hauora is an incredible asset for the Canterbury region, and is based on the proven principle that co-locating clinical care, teaching and research brings advantages, especially in the rapid translation of research findings to the clinical environment.

“As Independent Chair, I am very much looking forward to working together with my colleagues from Canterbury’s major tertiary and health institutions to achieve their vision,” says Peter Townsend.

Peter will take over as Independent Chair of The Health Precinct Advisory Council in July, after current Chair Ian Town announced he was stepping down last month after five years in the role.

“I would like to acknowledge the work of outgoing Chair Ian Town, whose dedication to the role has been unwavering,” says Canterbury DHB Chief Executive David Meates.

“Canterbury is rapidly earning a name as a place that attracts talent in healthcare, research and education from around the world, and that is thanks to the work of the Council.”


Additional notes for editors:

  • Peter Townsend was born in Rotorua and has lived in Christchurch since 1989. He was most recently employed as the CEO of The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, stepping down in November 2017 after holding that position for 21 years.
  • He is currently involved in Governance in several organisations including Chairing Pegasus Health (Charitable) Ltd and as a Director of Otakaro Ltd.
  • Since the Earthquakes of 2010/11 he has been closely involved in the recovery and regeneration of Christchurch.
  • Peter graduated  from The University of Otago with a B.Sc.(Hons), P.G. Dip. Bus.
  • In 2013 he became a Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in recognition of his service to the Business Community. 
  • In 2014 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Commerce by Lincoln University for services to Business.


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Page last updated: 19 June 2019

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