Carers' Strategy Action Plan cover

The New Zealand Carers' Strategy

At least one in 10 New Zealanders is a carer

Carers are people who care for friends, family, whānau and aiga members with a disability, health condition or illness who need help with everyday living.

The care role is often hidden in families and communities, in part because many consider it to be just “what families do”.

Carers are crucial to New Zealand society:

  • They enable people to live and participate in their communities.
  • They also help reduce dependence on health and aged care systems.

Demand for carers is growing because:

  • more people are living longer,
  • more people have multiple long-term health conditions, and
  • more people are living at home (rather than going into institutional care).

A cross-government strategy to better support carers

The New Zealand Carers’ Strategy was launched in 2008 by then Minister for Senior Citizens, the Hon Ruth Dyson and can be found at the back of the latest Carers' Strategy Action Plan.

The Strategy was developed in partnership by government agencies and the New Zealand Carers Alliance (which repesents a network of over 45 not-for-profit organisations). It is supported by five-year action plans that address key priorities identified by carers and the Government.

The Strategy acknowledges the real difference carers can make in people’s lives and provides the Government’s vision for carers in New Zealand:

“New Zealand is a society that values individuals, families, whānau and aiga who support others who need help with their everyday living.”

This will be achieved when:

  • carers have choices and opportunities to participate in family life, social activities, employment and education
  • carers’ voices are heard in decision-making that affects them.

Mahi Aroha - Carers' Strategy Action Plan 2019-2023

The latest Carers’ Strategy Action Plan is focused on improving the wellbeing of the one in 10 New Zealanders who care for a loved one with a disability, health condition, illness or injury.

Mahi Aroha includes a range of actions that we will help carry out with other government agencies and sector organisations over the next five years. These actions are focused on:

  • Recognising carers and their contributions
  • Improving the way carers can navigate the support and services available to them
  • Supporting the wellbeing of carers
  • Helping carers who want to balance their caring role with paid work or study.

The Action Plan includes a new focus on target populations (Māori, Pacific, young and older carers) and a family, whānau, aiga-centred approach will form part of the implementation approach.

Mahi Aroha was developed in partnership with the New Zealand Carers’ Alliance and a cross-government agency working group.

What we heard: Summary of Submissions – How carers informed the development of Mahi Aroha

Carers from throughout New Zealand provided feedback on a draft of the Action Plan and made a significant contribution to the development of Mahi Aroha.

The Summary of Submissions outlines the feedback that was received and is available below.

Where can you get support now?

  • A Guide for Carers: this guide provides information on supports, financial and non-financial available to carers and how to access them
  • CarersNZ website: provides a hub for ideas, guidance, learning and support. This includes things like “Find Services and Support” tool, and a Time Out Guide
  • CareMatters: provides a National Carer Learning and Wellbeing Resource Service with online resources, face-to-face workshop information, and care planning.
  • MyCare: Online matching service that aims to find carers access to respite carers

How to find out more

The following documents are available for download:

Mahi Aroha Carers’ Strategy Action Plan 2019–2023

Accessible format coming soon.

What we heard: Summary of Submissions for Mahi Aroha

Accessible format coming soon.

New Zealand Carers’ Strategy Action Plan for 2014 to 2018

A Guide for Carers – He Aratou mā ngā Kaitiaki