Otago Information & advice
There's good access to a range of information and support services in Dunedin and across the region generally.
Immigration New Zealand - Information for new migrants
Immigration New Zealand offers a free information service for all new migrants available throughout the country.
You can call the Immigration New Zealand Contact Centre on:
Freephone: 0508 558 855 (NZ landline only)
From overseas or a mobile phone: +64 9 914 4100
InfoNOW... in your language
The Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust (HMS) provides a free, independent and confidential service for all new migrants that makes it easy to find information in your preferred language about settling in New Zealand.
This service is available by phone or email.
You can access this service between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
Cities and most towns across New Zealand have a local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). It is a place where you will find someone who can provide information, advice and support on just about any problem you may have.
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.
The following CABs provide this service:
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.
Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council
Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council (DMEC) organise social gatherings, shared meals, cooking session and presentations by speakers. They focus on providing opportunities for migrants to develop new skills, networks and links with the Dunedin community. Check their Facebook page for details of events
Dunedin has a number of groups representing different a wide range of ethnic groups in the area. Check them out on the CAB site.
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.
Wondering what to do in Otago - 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.
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. 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.
The Plunket society offers information, support and developmental assessments of children at varying stages between birth and 5 years. It also organises car seat rental schemes, parenting education and parenting groups, play groups and toy libraries.
Justice of the Peace
Justice of the Peace (JPs) can be found in most areas of Otago and can assist with the witnessing of documents such as applications for citizenship, certifying copies, and taking declarations, affidavits and affirmations.