Telecommunications Relay Service

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

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

Review of the Telecommunications Relay Service

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

This is the second phase of the public consultation.

To view these proposed changes, including how to your say go to the ‘have your say’ page.

View the previous 2018 consultation and a summary of submissions.

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 Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.

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.

Mobile text relay

You text your message to a relay assistant through the ‘TexMee’ application on your 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.

Internet 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.

CapTel

You speak directly to another phone user through a special captioned telephone. A relay assistant will then listen to the other person’s response and create text captions that appear on the CapTel screen.

CapTel handsets require both a broadband and landline connection and cost $325 to borrow.

The service is available every day from 7am to 10pm.

WebCapTel

You speak directly to another phone user through a regular phone, a relay assistant will then listen to the response and create text captions, which you can then read through the CapTel website.

The service is available every day from 7am to 10pm.

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 service is available Monday to Friday 7.30am to 9pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm.

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 service is available Monday to Friday 7.30am to 9pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm.

Telecommunications Relay List of Services  [PDF, 148 KB]

New Zealand Relay Advisory Group

The New Zealand Relay Advisory Group, comprised of representatives of the user community and industry.

This group of consumer and industry representatives provides comment and feedback on the Telecommunications Relay Service. The group's roles and responsibilities are set out by charter.

For more information visit the New Zealand Relay website(external link)

Charter for the New Zealand Relay Advisory Group [PDF, 723 KB]