Who is a Carer?

If someone you love and care for on a full time basis needs additional support to live their everyday lives because of a disability, then we consider you their Carer.

The term ‘Carer’ is used internationally, but we understand that it may not be accepted or recognised by everyone. You might identify as mum or dad, brother or sister, family, whānau or friend. Words such as ‘supporter’ or ‘manaakitanga’ may better describe the way you see caring as a natural part of what you do for the people you love, care for, and support.

The number of Carers in New Zealand varies as some people move into and out of the Carer support role regularly. About one in 10 New Zealanders are Carers. This number is likely to increase as the population ages, and people live longer.

The Carer role does not fall equally across the population. The majority of Carers are women. Members of Māori and Pacific communities are also more likely to be Carers.

Why is the definition important?

While the interests of Carers and the people they care for are closely related, support is usually focused on the person needing care. It is important that the health and wellbeing of Carers is also recognised and supported. It is also worth understanding that we see your role different to paid support workers who are often referred too also as "Carers". We tend to call these people support workers on our site to allow the differentiation.

The New Zealand Carer Strategy section of our site outlines action plans to support Carers in Aotearoa.