What you need to know

Different services are available across the country, so we recommend you check out our local service search tool to see what’s available near you.  

Here are some of the services we offer 

  • Car seat advice  
  • Family Start 
  • Health Worker/Kaiāwhina visits  
  • Lactation consultants  
  • Mental health support 
  • Parent groups  
  • Playgroups 
  • Toy libraries.

Why aren’t the same services available everywhere?

Plunket does have some core community support services (e.g. parent groups) that are available all over the country, but many are tailored to the needs of local communities and supported by volunteers.  

If there’s a specific service that you’d like to see in your town, please get in touch with us. Or if you’d be keen to volunteer to support a service, we’d love to hear from you 

Thank you!

Whānau Āwhina Plunket is a charity and many of our community support services are only possible thanks to the wonderful work of our volunteers and funding through grants, donations, corporate partnershipsprivate philanthropy and fundraising activities at a local and national level.  

Thanks, New Zealand. We couldn’t do it without you.  

Car seat advice

Plunket doesn’t have a car seat rental programme anymore – but we do have qualified child restraint technicians across the country who can help with advice and installation of capsules, car seats and booster seats.  

Search what’s available in your areaor contact your Plunket injury prevention team for more information:  

Find a child restraint technician

The NZ Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi) looks after the national transport system.

Family Start

Family Start is a free, voluntary home-visiting service for expectant or new parents currently experiencing challenging personal or family situations.  

Plunket has the Family Start contract for the Manawatu and Bay of Plenty. Other agencies offer this same programme in other areas of the country.  

You can be referred to Family Start by your LMC, doctor, Well Child provider or other agencies – or you can get in contact with us yourself 

Health worker/kaiāwhina visits

Plunket has a team of health workers/kaiāwhina who work alongside our nurses to support families with things like sleep and settling, healthy lifestyle changes, how and when to start solids – and more.  

Many of our kaiāwhina understand and speak te reo Māori.  

These visits are organised by your Plunket nurse or PlunketLine 

Lactation consultants

Breastfeeding is a learned skill for both mum and baby, and it can be quite tricky to start off with.  

To help, Plunket has a couple of community lactation consultants across the country – and a free video-call breastfeeding support service through PlunketLine that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere 

Find out more about our lactation consultant service.

Mental health support

Plunket has a free specialist maternal mental health service in Canterbury, South Canterbury and Dunedin called the Postnatal Adjustment Programme. Email plunket@plunket.org.nz for more information.   

Our community Plunket nurses and PlunketLine (0800 933 922also regularly support whānau experiencing anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns.   

Parent groups

Parent groups are great for developing your child’s social skills and providing opportunities for you to connect with other parents or caregivers in your community.  

There are lots of different types of parent groups, including:  

  • Plunket in the Neighbourhood (PIN) groups   
  • whānau groups  
  • young mums’ groups  
  • dads' coffee groups
  • coffee groups 
  • walking groups  
  • dance and movement – and more.

Most of these groups are run by parent volunteers, with the help of Plunket community staff.  

Find out more about how you can get involved in volunteering for Plunket – and what parent groups are available in your neighbourhood.  

Read more about Plunket parent groups here.

Parenting programmes

Babies don’t come with a manual, but our Plunket parenting courses are a useful way of getting prepped with what to expect and some practical advice for labour and life as a new parent.   

Our courses include antenatal classes in the Waikato region, and the Pregnancy and Parenting Education Programme (antenatal) in the South Island 


Plunket playgroups are a fun, informal way for children to learn and grow. Activities can include music and singing, arts and crafts, and free or imaginative play.  

We also have playgroups in other languages - Spanish 

Plunket playgroups are also great for parents. They’re an opportunity to connect and develop friendships with other local parents – and are an inexpensive way to entertain the kids for an hour or so in a fun, safe environment.  

Search for a playgroup near you

Toy libraries

Like borrowing a book from a library, at Plunket toy libraries you can borrow different toys to match the age and stage of your child.  

Children learn through play, and toys can be a great way for kids to grow their imagination and develop new skills.   

Toy libraries are run by volunteers and most libraries are free or have a small membership fee.  

Find out if there’s a Plunket toy library near you.