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

River of Flowers back again in 2015

Wednesday 18 February 2015Media release3 minutes to read

​Cantabrians will once again have the opportunity to share their experiences and hopes for the future as part of the River of Flowers commemoration on the fourth anniversary of the February 22 earthquake. 

On Sunday, February 22 Cantabrians are invited to throw flowers into the water at 14 sites along the Avon and Heathcote rivers, and at the estuary. Sites will be open from 8am to 8pm, and hosted by community groups between 12.30-1.30pm. Two minutes silence will be held at 12:51pm.

Healthy Christchurch chairperson David Meates says the River of Flowers provides a great opportunity for people to connect with each other on what is a very poignant day.

“Four years on we know that people are in very different places. Some have settled and have moved on while others are still living with uncertainty and struggling with the enormity of the changes we've gone through,” David says.

“The River of Flowers is something that helps bring our city together. It's a day that people from all walks of life and all stages of our recovery can come together to remember the quakes, reflect on their impact, and share our hopes for the future.”

Evan Smith from the Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON) says the River of Flowers has struck a chord with Cantabrians.  

“The River of Flowers has established itself as a key way Cantabrians come together to reflect on the earthquakes and celebrate our strength,” Evan says.​

“It's a community-led initiative which builds on the strength of our local communities. Releasing flowers into our waterways also sends a strong message that we are all in this together; we're all part of something much bigger.”

The following sites have been confirmed:

Site Host
Avonside – Corner of Avonside Drive and Retreat Road, near the Gayhurst Road bridge. CanCERN
Beckenham Park riverbank Beckenham Neighbourhood Association
Botanic Gardens – footbridge between the Hospital and the Peace Bell
(Christchurch City Council Commemoration Service starts at noon, followed by the River of Flowers from 1 to 1.30pm)
Council of Social Services, Mental Health Foundation and Christchurch City Council
Burwood/Avondale – Avondale Road Bridge and SW riverbank on Avonside Drive Burwood and Avondale Communities
Estuary  – Yacht Club Car Park, Moncks Bay Christchurch Yacht Club
Heathcote River – Riverbank opposite The Princess Margaret Hospital Healthy Christchurch
Ilam – Riverbank in front of the UCSA Building Canterbury University
Medway Street Foot Bridge (SW bank on River Road) Avon Otakaro Network
New Brighton – Owles Terrace Reserve River of Life & SURF Community Trust
O-Tautahi :The Bricks – Barbadoes Street bridge & diagonal adjoining riverbanks Avon Loop Planning Association
Place of Tranquillity – Corner of Manchester Street and Cambridge Terrace Public Health Assoc NZ (Canterbury/ West Coast Branch)
Riccarton Bush – River Bank between Kahu Road and Riccarton House Avon-Otakaro Network

For more information on sites, including maps, visit

People are asked to bring their own flowers.



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Page last updated: 19 December 2018

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