Changes to New Zealand's Relay Services

From 1 February 2021, some people will experience changes to the way they access and use these services. 

Delayne Tutemahurangi

The following message is from New Zealand's Relay Services:

Kia ora,


You can view this information in New Zealand Sign Language here.


Changes to NZ’s Relay Services for people who are Deaf, hard of hearing, speech-impaired and deafblind are just under a week away.


From 1 February 2021, some people will experience changes to the way they access and use these services. A new-look website will combine all relay services in one place, and the introduction of a new NZ Relay app for your mobile phone or tablet will mean you can stay connected when you’re on the go.


This free app will be available to download from the App Store and Google Play Store from 1 February 2021 – once available, simply search for “NZ Relay”, download the app on your mobile phone or tablet, and you can get started. You will be able to use this app to make and receive calls using Text Relay and Captioned Relay, using your mobile data or Wi-Fi connection.


When these changes take place, there will be a number of new functions and benefits that you can take advantage of. These include: free mobile and international calling (no need for a calling card anymore), 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.


Educational resources now available 


We have produced a number of educational resources that you can check out right now on These show you, step-by-step, how to download and use the NZ Relay app.


Changes to CapTel services


Captioning services, which are currently provided through a specialised CapTel handset or the CapTel website, are changing. From 1 February 2021 they will be replaced by the NZ Relay app for mobile phones and tablets.


Please be assured that this will not have any effect on your landline phone connection. CapTel handsets will continue to operate as a landline phone, but will no longer show captions on the screen. You can get in touch with the NZ Relay help desk today to arrange a refund for your handset. Anyone can get a refund, regardless of whether you want to return your handset or keep it to use as a landline phone. 


While this will have many exciting benefits, like being able to make and receive captioned calls when you’re away from home or in a different part of the house, we also acknowledge that this will be a big change for many people.


Our team is working hard to provide tailored support to help people through this change. If you or someone you know needs personalised assistance to navigate this change, please get in touch with the NZ Relay help desk today.


Along with the tailored, personal support available to those who need it, the how-to guides available on may also be helpful for anyone who uses CapTel. Printed versions of these guides have also been sent to all NZ households where we have a record of a CapTel handset.


Get in touch


Please remember that you can contact the relay service help desk with any questions about these changes, and they will ensure your questions are answered as soon as possible.


TTY: 0800 4 713 713 
Voice: 0800 4 715 715 
Fax: 0800 4 329 697


Do you know others who would be interested in these changes? Help us to spread the word by sharing this important information with them, too.


Thank you for your time and patience as we work to enhance NZ’s Relay Services. 


Ngā mihi nui,


Relay Service Team