About COVID-19 testing

Find out about getting tested, the different tests used in New Zealand, and where you can be tested.

Testing is free

Generally, everyone can get a COVID-19 test for free — you do not need to be a New Zealand citizen or resident, and you will not have to pay for care if you test positive.

You may need to pay for a test if it’s to enter another country or for surveillance testing by the business sector, which is outside the mandatory requirements.

Who can get a free test?

A COVID-19 test is free if it is part of the public health response. This includes if you:

· have symptoms

· are a Household Contact

· are a critical worker and need a test to go to work

· are part of the healthcare and emergency service workforce

· require a test for domestic travel or to attend court

· do a job where mandatory testing applies

· have been told to get one by a health professional.

Where to get a test

You are allowed to leave your home to get a COVID-19 test while you are self-isolating.

Visit a community testing centre

Healthpoint lists testing centres by area. You can also search for a location near you on a map.

Order RAT home testing kits

Requesting RATs to use at home is an easy step-by-step process. RATs can be requested on behalf of someone else. You will need access to a mobile phone to validate your order.

You will be issued an order number. You can then collect your RAT order from a collection site listed on Healthpoint, or have someone collect it for you.

Get a test from your doctor

Your doctor may offer COVID-19 tests. Call them to find out and follow their advice.

When to get tested

Reasons to get tested may include if you:

  • feel unwell
  • are a household contact of someone with COVID-19
  • are travelling internationally (depending on where you’re travelling to)
  • are attending a court in person and are asymptomatic and unvaccinated
  • are required to in order to undertake your work

If you think you need a test, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453

Financial support while awaiting results

If you cannot work from home, your employer can apply for the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment so you can continue to get paid.

  • COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment

Different types of COVID-19 tests

In New Zealand there are three types of test for COVID-19: PCR, Saliva and Rapid antigen.

PCR tests

PCR (or nasopharyngeal) tests are the most accurate test, and can be done at community testing centres, hospitals and medical centres. Results can take 2-5 days.

It is is a swab of the back of your nose and throat. A swab is like a small cotton-bud but with a longer stick.

Saliva tests

This testing is available for border workers. Saliva samples can be self-collected and dropped off at a collection point or observed by a health care worker.

Rapid antigen tests (RATs)

A rapid antigen test (RAT) is generally taken with a front of nose swab. It can be done in hospitals, medical centres, pharmacies and at home. These are used more often when case numbers are high.

Share with your family and friends!

Leave a comment

Skip to content