Canterbury Information & advice

As a major tourist gateway and the South Island's major city, Canterbury is constantly welcoming short- and long-term visitors from all over the world. It's well set up for new arrivals with an excellent range of community services and organisations.
Looking for general information?

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


Information in YOUR language

Citizens Advice Bureau Logo

Sometimes, to be sure you understand, it can be helpful to have something repeated in your first language. 

Language Assistance Services (LAS) is a free government service available in over 300 languages, that you can use for talking to any participating government agency - including, very soon, your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

This includes phone and video interpreting, and is available "24/7" - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

For more about LAS including a list of the participating agencies see our Help in your language page - or contact your local CAB.

Help in your language


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.

Canterbury | Citizens Advice Bureau

Migrant Connect information service


For newcomers to New Zealand, selected Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) provide a free and confidential 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:

CAB North Canterbury

CAB Christchurch City

CAB Christchurch West

CAB Christchurch North

Newcomers Network

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.

Canterbury | Newcomers Network

Aoraki Multicultural Council

The Aoraki Multicultural Council provides help and support for migrants and newcomers in South Canterbury.

Aoraki Multicultural Council 

Christchurch Multicultural Council

The Christchurch Multicultural Council have an office in the city centre, and have meetings and social gatherings for migrants. Find their phone and email contact details on the Federation of Multicultural council website.

Christchurch Multicultural Council

Waitaki Newcomers Support Centre

The Waitaki Newcomers Support Centre is in Oamaru. Contact the Migrant Support Co-ordinator and visit their Facebook page for more information.

Waiktaki Newcomers Support Centre Facebook

Local Libraries

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.

Christchurch City Libraries

Ashburton Library

Timaru District Libraries

Waimakariri Libraries

Cultural groups

Canterbury has a number of groups representing a wide range of ethnic groups in the area. Check them out on the Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) site.

Canterbury Multicultural groups | CAB

Rotaract Clubs

Rotaract is for young professionals aged 18 to 35 who get out and volunteer in the community, network and have fun. 

Find a club | Rotaract

Visitor Information

Wondering what to do in Canterbury - 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.

Canterbury visitor information | Tourism New Zealand

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.

Find a centre | Community Law Centre

Immigration advice

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. There are a number of registered immigration advisors in the Canterbury region. Find them using the online register operated by the Immigration Advisers Authority.

Find an adviser | Immigration Advisers Authority

Find an immigration lawyer | New Zealand Law Society

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.


Budget services Canterbury | CAB

Find a Budgeting service | NZ Federation of Budgeting Services

Parents centres

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.

Locations | Parents Centre New Zealand

Toy Library Federation of New Zealand

Toy Libraries offer a range of quality toys, puzzles, games and learning activities for members to hire for a set period of time. Caters for 0 - 8 years.

Canterbury Toy Libraries | Toy Library Federation of New Zealand

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