How to get a COVID-19 test

When you should get a test, what you need to do, and how to report your RAT results. Tests detect all COVID-19 variants.

When you should get a test

COVID-19 tests are free and widely available

You can get free rapid antigen tests (RATs) from a range of locations, including the usual collection sites, marae and some pharmacies. 

Where to get a test

If you are unwell

If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, get a test as soon as you start to feel unwell. Doing a test and reporting the result means you can get the help you need as early as possible.

Check the list of COVID-19 symptoms

If you are a contact of someone with COVID-19

If you live with a person who has COVID-19 or have spent at least 8 hours with them in the same home, you are a Household Contact. We recommend you do a RAT each day for 5 days.

Advice for Household Contacts

Types of tests

Two types of COVID-19 tests are available to the general public in New Zealand.

  • Rapid antigen tests (RATs): RATs are the main testing method for people with COVID-19 symptoms or who are Household Contacts. Results take up to 20 minutes. RATs detect all COVID-19 variants.
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests: PCRs are used in some situations. Results take 2 to 5 days. PCR tests detect all COVID-19 variants.

A health professional can advise you on the right test to take in your situation. 

COVID-19 test results and their accuracy | Ministry of Health (external link)

Where to get a test

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

Order free RAT home testing kits

You can order rapid antigen tests (RATs) for yourself or on behalf of someone else. You will need access to a mobile phone to confirm your order.

You will get an order number. You can then pick up your RATs from a collection site, or have someone collect the tests for you.

Visit a community testing centre

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

Find a COVID-19 testing centre | Healthpoint (external link)

Get a test from your doctor

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

How to use a RAT

There are different brands of rapid antigen tests (RATs). While the instructions are similar for each, make sure to check the instructions in your kit.

How to use a RAT

How to report your RAT results

Whether positive or negative, you should report the results of your RAT. Reporting the result means you can get the help you need as early as possible.

How to report your RAT result

Getting your PCR test results

After your test, you must self-isolate until you receive a negative result.

You will get your results in a text message from 2328. It will take 2 to 5 days.

If you test positive, the text message will provide information about self-isolation, support options and a 6-digit access code for the online contact tracing form.

If you have COVID-19

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