COVID-19 is serious for Aotearoa. It has the potential to
have a serious impact on Māori across the country.

Keeping our whanau and our community safe has always been an integral part of our tikanga and the presence of COVID-19 makes it even more important.

There is no whakama in needing to be tested for COVID-19.
  • A cough

  • Fever

  • Shortness of breath

  • Sore, aching muscles

  • Sneezing

  • Temporary loss of smell

The symptoms of COVID-19 are:
The current cases of COVID-19 are as a result of international travel. 
The Ministry of Health has developed a strategy that prioritises testing international travellers for COVID-19, and recommends testing anyone who shows signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

The key elements of the current testing strategy are:


  • Testing anyone presenting to their GP or a hospital who has clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Those who meet a Higher Index of Suspicion (HIS) criteria are given priority (the HIS criteria is listed below)

  • Testing close contacts of people who have been confirmed with COVID-19 and who also show symptoms of COVID-19

  • Wider testing of close contacts if required (upon the advice of the Medical Officer of Health)

  • Testing at the border:

    • Testing international travellers twice (on the third and 12th day) while in managed isolation facilities as a requirement of their exit from managed facilities

    • Regular health checks of border-facing workers (for example, customs, biosecurity, immigration or aviation security staff at airports) and staff in managed isolation facilities and testing those who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19

    • Ongoing testing of border workforce groups

    • Quarantine exempt people (such as air crew).


Higher Index of Suspicion (HIS) criteria


The HIS criteria applies to people who have symptoms of COVID-19 AND in the 14 days before feeling unwell have had:


  • Contact with confirmed or probable case

  • International travel

  • Direct contact with a person who has travelled overseas (eg Customs and Immigration staff, staff at quarantine/isolation facilities)

  • History of working on an international aircraft or shipping vessel

  • Cleaning at international airport or marine port at areas/conveniences visited by international arrivals

  • Any other criteria requested by the local Medical Officer of Health.



  • Only those meeting both the clinical and the HIS criteria will need to be notified to the Medical Officer of Health on presentation

  • Only those meeting both the clinical and HIS criteria will be asked to self-isolate until their test results are available. 


Surveillance testing

The Ministry of Health encourages testing of people presenting to their GP or any other health facility with clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19, whether they meet the HIS criteria or not. Those who dont meet the HIS criteria should be tested for surveillance purposes and identify whether COVID-19 is within the community. 

If you think you need to be tested for COVID-19, you should call your GP, or the Healthline on 0800 358 5453. They will be able to tell you what to do next. 

Data and reporting

The Ministry of Health and it's technical advisors (including Māori and Pacific health experts) are monitoring and analysing information about testing and the results of testing and will change the testing criteria and processes as needed.  


More information about the Ministry of Health’s Case Definition for COVID-19 testing is available here.

To make sure we share up-to-date advice and information on this website is updated regularly. 

© 2020 by Ora Project Solutions, New Zealand