Hospital visiting guidelines updated 16 September 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are not acceptable.  See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests.

See for info on vaccinations.

Last updated:
16 September 2022

Fewer visitor restrictions now apply

For visitors to all facilities effective from 16 September 2022

Some visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Te Tai o Poutini West Coast health facilities remain in place, but we have relaxed others.

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital and so people must continue to wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and other visitors safe.

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

  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell. Do not visit if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t completed your isolation period.
  • Patients in single rooms may have more than one visitor while patients in multi-bed rooms can have one visitor only per patient to ensure there is no overcrowding.
  • People can have one or two support people to accompany them to outpatients appointments.
  • Women in labour in a birthing suite, in Te Nīkau Hospital’s Maternity Ward and in Buller’s Kawatiri Maternity Unit can have the usual support people, subject to space, for the duration of their stay in our facilities.
  • Eating or drinking at the bedside is at the discretion of the Clinical Nurse Manager. Visitors must not eat or drink in multibed rooms because of the increased risk when multiple people remove their mask in the same space.
  • Hand sanitiser is available and must be used.

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.

Mask wearing

  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all sites, except in counselling, mental health and addiction services where it’s on a case-by-case agreement with patients. Masks will be provided if you don’t have one. In higher-risk environments, people, including young children, may not be able to visit if they cannot wear a mask.
  • 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.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • People are able to visit patients who have COVID-19 but they must wear an N95 mask – this will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp etc where visits aren’t possible.

You must NOT visit our facilities if you

  • are COVID-19 positive
  • are unwell. Please stay home if you have a tummy bug or cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you’ve tested negative for COVID-19).

Te Whatu Ora West Coast Aged Residential Care facilities

Visitors are welcome at our Aged Care Residential facilities, subject to the space available. All visitors must wear a surgical mask.

More COVID-19 information

Wellbeing after an emergency – Buller flooding July 2021 – November update

A printer-friendly flyer containing most of the information on this page can also be downloaded

To download the flyer, simply click on the link shown just below.


Buller flooding – July 2021

November 2021 Update

It’s been four months since the Buller floods now. In the meantime we’ve had a COVID-19 lockdown and reduced alert level rules.  On the bright side, spring turned up and we’re moving into summer!

Many things seem a little better when you can get outside more often, go for a walk around the neighbourhood or down to the beach, borrow a bike and ride to the hills and back, go for a swim at the pool, and crank up the BBQ.  (With sunscreen, hats and appropriate attire, of course!)
There are still many households in limbo while they talk to insurers, the council, the Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) or Residential Advisory Service (RAS), landlords, banks, builders and the like.  Those pressures can be stressful – don’t forget if you’re feeling in need of talking to someone – call or text 1737 any time of day or night.

If it’s an emergency, please call 111.

For health advice at any time:

  • Talk confidentially about a meth or P – 0800 METH HELP 0800 6384-4357
  • The Alcohol Drug Helpline offers support to anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s drug or alcohol use 0800 787-797
  • For wellbeing support you can talk to a counsellor free of charge, call or text 1737 any time of the day or night
  • For pregnancy support and advice over the phone, please call your LMC/midwife
  • If you have questions about your young child or baby’s health phone Plunketline on 0800 933-922 to speak to a Plunket nurse
  • Visit the HealthInfo website for trusted health advice on a range of issues
  • Buller Pharmacy at 168 Palmerston Street Westport is open for over the counter medications and health advice – please wear a mask, socially distance and dress for queuing outside.
  • Call Healthline on 0800 611-116 – calls are answered 24/7. If you need to be seen, they will tell you what to do and where to go.
  • If you are still living in a red or yellow-stickered house, be aware that dampness and mould can be bad for your health / your children’s health. Make sure you’re taking extra care to wash your hands using soap, or regularly using sanitiser. Clean and disinfect surfaces often. Use diluted household bleach (1 litre of bleach to 10 litres of water) on any areas where mould has developed.

For Māori whanau

  • Message, phone or email, 021 0286-3484 at Te Hā O Kawatiri if you need support.
  • The Te Puni Kōkiri website provides the latest, trusted information for Māori about COVID-19 and the vaccine rollout. We share the work iwi and Māori organisations are doing around the motu.
  • Contact Poutini Waiora – a kaupapa Māori health and social service provider that delivers holistic care to whanau across Te Tai O Poutini. Free Call: 0800 333-170, Press 3 for Kawatiri.

Welfare needs

The Community Hub at 175 Palmerston St, Westport (phone 0800 768-348) is a free one-stop shop for flood-affected residents.
Monday to Friday 9.30 – 4pm
Saturday 12 noon to 2pm.

Westport Flood Assistance Information

Flood recovery assistance booklet

Support for Māori

Information document

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui
Be strong, be brave, be steadfast!


Free stress and wellbeing training courses in Buller

Did you know?

There are currently Free stress and wellbeing training courses in Buller.

To find out more visit our dedicated page here.


Page last updated: 9 November 2021

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