International student health and wellbeing

To get the most out of your learning journey as an international student at AUT, it's important that you manage your health and wellbeing. This starts before you arrive in New Zealand.

Before you leave

  1. Get a health check before you leave your country. Bring all relevant medical records and prescriptions with you.
  2. Visit your dentist and have any necessary dental treatment before you leave.
  3. Visit your optometrist so that you have an updated prescription for your vision.
  4. Check that you are up to date with your vaccinations. In New Zealand, adults are generally expected to have been vaccinated against tetanus, diphteria, whooping cough, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal disease type B, HPV and hepatitis B.
  5. Check custom regulations for bringing medication on the plane with you.

When you arrive in Auckland

Make an appointment with a local doctor (GP) as soon as possible to ensure any medical treatment you currently receive doesn’t get interrupted. Don’t wait until you become unwell or need a repeat prescription.

The New Zealand healthcare system

The New Zealand healthcare system may be different from your country of origin. Make sure that you understand when and how to consult a medical professional.

NZ medical system chart

NZ medical system chart

Doctor (GP)

If you have very mild symptoms, a cough or a headache, you can go to a pharmacy and purchase over-the-counter medicine. Ask to talk to the head pharmacist for advice.

If your symptoms are persistent or if you have an ongoing issue that may require medical tests or prescription medicine, you need to make an appointment with a doctor. In New Zealand, a family doctor is called a GP, short for general practitioner. General health checks and referrals to specialists are also done by a GP. You can’t refer yourself to a specialist.

Dentists and optometrists

You don't need a referral to go to the dentist or the optometrist. However, dental care and eye care are not funded by the public healthcare system and can be quite expensive compared to other countries.

Registering with a doctor

You need to register with a dedicated GP or a medical centre that will hold your medical records. Being registered also ensures that you pay lower medical fees. Don’t wait until you're sick. It's important to get registered as soon as possible.

You can choose to register at the AUT Student Medical Centre. It offers full on-campus general medical services at a low cost. Alternatively, you can find a healthcare provider near your location by using the Healthpoint website.

Accident & Medical Clinic

If you need after hours or urgent medical care, in case of a sudden illness or an accident, and can’t wait for a GP appointment to be available, go to an accident & medical clinic. These are generally open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In case of a no-fault accident, a sport injury for example, your appointment will be free. ACC, the Accident Compensation Corporation, is a national scheme that covers anyone who is accidentally injured in New Zealand, regardless of who they are.


If you have chest pain, a head injury, severe blood loss or a major accident you need to go to the hospital. In case of a life-threatening emergency, call 111 for an ambulance. The ambulance services in New Zealand may be referred to as Hato Hone St John (or just St John).

Waiting times

It can take more than a week to get an appointment with a doctor (GP) and, depending on the area of medical care and severity of your condition, you may have to wait several months to see a specialist.

An accident & medical clinic will treat you on the day but expect to spend a few hours in the waiting room.

Bringing medication with you on the plane

Medsafe is New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority. It's responsible for the regulation of medicines and their importation into New Zealand.

You may bring some personal medications with you into the country or get them sent to you by post or an international courier. You must follow the following guidelines:

  1. Be prepared to show a copy of the original prescription and a letter from your health provider explaining that the medication is required to manage your health care to custom officers (all documentation must be in English).
  2. Keep all medicine in their original packaging.
  3. Check if your medication is classified as a controlled drug in New Zealand
  4. Declare all prescription medications and controlled drugs on your arrival card
  5. Only bring the approved quantity on the plane, either on you or in your luggage: up to 3 months for prescription medications, up to six months for contraceptive pills, up to one month for controlled drugs.

You may find that some common medications (treatments for ADD/ADHD, sleeping pills, herbal medicines for example) are classified as ‘controlled drugs’ and are not available or easy to access in New Zealand.

You can only be able to bring a month worth of supply with you. To renew or change your prescription, you will need to first consult a GP and then get a referral to a specialist for assessment. This can take a long time. This is why it is important to book an appointment with a GP soon after your arrival.

Medsafe website

Medical and travel insurance

Carefully check your insurance policy in relation to what it covers, especially pre-existing conditions.

For students who are covered by the Studentsafe Inbound University policy, you must complete and return a Medical Risk Assessment Form to the insurance provider within 28 days of your arrival in Auckland. If you fail to provide this form in time, your pre-existing condition will remain excluded from your cover.

Medical cover for pre-existing conditions may require an additional premium to be paid.

Complete Studentsafe form

NauMai NZ government website

The NauMai NZ website has information and advice for international students in New Zealand, including healthcare.

‘Nau mai’ is a Māori phrase of invitation and welcome.

NauMai NZ website


For 24/7 health advice from a registered nurse, you can contact Healthline while you're in New Zealand.

Call 0800 611 116