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Primary Health Interpreting

Primary Health Interpreting Service is provided by WATIS Interpreting Service for primary healthcare services in the Waitemata DHB region. The service is funded by the Ministry of Health via the Northern Regional Alliance Ltd.

WATIS provides Primary Health Interpreting services 24/7/365 and contracts more than 200 interpreters to cover 142 languages and dialects (including NZ Sign Language, Asian, Pacific, European, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African languages). The WATIS call centre is also managed by Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) and Korean speaking staff during office hours (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5pm).


Please note:

  • WATIS Interpreting Service is accessible to primary healthcare service providers only.

  • If you are a patient / client, please do not contact WATIS directly. If you require an interpreter for an appointment, please contact your primary healthcare service provider directly and request an interpreter through their service.



Service Aims


Working together to:

  • Ensure health services are accessible

  • Improve communication

  • Improve and maintain clinical safety


Why are Professional Interpreters Required?

Healthcare providers are required to comply with the following legislation:

  • Health and Disability Commissioner Act - Code of Rights (1994): Right 5 states that every consumer has the right to effective communication. When it is necessary and practicable, the consumer has the right to a competent interpreter

  • Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act (1992): Section 6 states that healthcare providers must ensure the services of a competent interpreter are provided where practicable, when one of the following applies:

    • the first or preferred language of the person is a language other than English, including Maori and New Zealand Sign Language; or

    • the person is unable, because of physical disability, to understand English