Telecommunications Relay Service

The Government provides relay services for people who are Deaf, hard of hearing, speech-impaired and deafblind to communicate with hearing people over the phone, with the help of a relay assistant.

Changes to New Zealand’s Telecommunications Relay Services

Changes were made to New Zealand’s Telecommunications Relay Services on 1 February 2021.

New functions and benefits to these services include free mobile and international calling, two-way calling between Speech to Speech service users, and the ability to use both Zoom and Microsoft Teams when booking remote sessions on the Video Interpreting Service.

A free NZ Relay app for mobile phones and tablets is now available to download from the App Store and Google Play Store. This app can be used to make and receive text relay and captioned relay calls, using mobile data or a Wi-Fi connection.

Find out more about the services available on the NZ Relay website(external link)

These services receive funding from the Telecommunications Development Levy and are delivered by contracted providers.

New provider of New Zealand’s Telecommunications Relay Services

Please see the below video to view a summary of this information in New Zealand Sign Language.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has recently conducted a procurement process for New Zealand’s Telecommunications Relay Services.

Following the completion of this process, Concentrix Services (New Zealand) Limited (Concentrix) has been selected as the new provider of these important national services. The Concentrix technology platform will provide a suite of modern and responsive relay services to suit individual circumstances and needs.

We anticipate that Concentrix will begin to deliver NZ’s relay services from 1 February 2021.

MBIE, Concentrix, and current relay service providers Sprint and Communication Service for Deaf (CSD), are committed to ensuring the transition to new services is as smooth as possible. As part of the transition, Sprint and CSD will continue delivering relay services from 1 July 2020 until early 2021. Services will continue to operate as usual during this time and users will not experience any changes.

MBIE are planning to ensure everyone has the support they need to use and access the new services. We will update user communities with more information about transitioning onto Concentrix’s service, and the support that will be available, at a later date.

If you have any questions, please contact the MBIE relay service team on RelayService@mbie.govt.nz.

Review of the Telecommunications Relay Service

We worked with the Office for Disability Issues to modernise the Telecommunications Relay Service, asking for feedback on six proposed changes to the NZSL video interpreting and relay services.

View the feedback on this consultation

List of services

Video Interpreting Service

You sign with an NZSL interpreter on Skype, the interpreter relays your message verbally to a non-NZSL user over the phone, and then signs the reply back to you.

This service is available seven days a week

  • Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
  • Saturday 10am – 5pm
  • Sunday 12pm – 5pm

The service’s hours operate as above during public holidays.

The Video Interpreting Service can also be used for remote interpreting where you and the person you want to talk to are in the same room. For example, you might want to use this service when you go see your doctor, or have a parent-teacher interview at your child’s school.

Text relay

You text your message to a relay assistant through the NZ Relay application on your mobile phone or tablet. The relay assistant then relays your message verbally to a standard phone user and texts the spoken reply back to you for you to read.

This is a 24-hour service. The NZ Relay app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play Store and uses mobile data or a Wi-Fi connection.

Internet text relay

You type your message to a relay assistant through the NZRelay website. The relay assistant then relays your message verbally to a standard phone user and types the spoken reply and sends it back to you for you to read.

This is a 24-hour service. 

Captioned relay

Captioned relay services are available using the NZ Relay application for mobile phones and tablets.

You speak and listen to another phone user on your mobile or landline phone. A relay assistant will listen to the other person’s response and create text captions that appear on the screen of your mobile phone or tablet.

The NZ Relay app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play Store and uses mobile data or a Wi-Fi connection.

This is a 24-hour service.

Teletypewriter (TTY) to voice

You type your message to a relay assistant using TTY equipment. The relay assistant then relays your message verbally to a standard phone user and then types the spoken reply and sends it back to you for you to read.

This is a 24-hour service.

Hearing carry-over (TTY)

If you have a speech impairment you can type a message to a relay assistant using TTY equipment. The relay assistant then relays your message verbally to a standard phone user, who then speaks directly to you.

This is a 24-hour service.

Voice carry-over (TTY)

You speak directly to another phone user using TTY equipment. A relay assistant then types the spoken reply for you to read.

This is a 24-hour service.

Speech to speech

If you have a speech impairment you can speak with a specialist relay assistant using your own voice or a synthesizer. The relay assistant then relays your message to a standard phone user.

This is a 24-hour service.

Video-assisted speech to speech

You speak with a specialist relay assistant using both Skype, to provide visual cues, and a regular phone. The relay assistant then relays your message to a standard phone user.

This is a 24-hour service.

Last updated: 29 January 2021