About LifeLine

The Profile

Life Line started in Christchurch in 1964 with LifeLine Auckland following 2 years later. Between 1964 and 1996, eleven further Centres were established in New Zealand. Since 2005, a national 0800 number (0800 543 354) has covered the whole country, via 9 centres.


LifeLine New Zealand

LifeLine New Zealand was effectively established in 1975 to oversee the establishment of consistent standards for the selection, training and supervision of Telephone Counsellors, the establishment of an agreement to confidentiality within the service and the preparation of a Code of Ethics. 

The national office was formally set up in Christchurch in March 2005, employing a part-time Administrator/Secretary when the 0800 number came into operation to ensure that people in even the most remote areas of New Zealand have access to LifeLine’s service.

LifeLine New Zealand is a foundation member of Life Line International (Sydney congress 1966) and, in May 2009, a proposal was made by Lifeline Australia to move Life Line International into a regional structure which has the ultimate goal of developing a vibrant Emotional Support Alliance.

We promise to be there
  • LifeLine provides a free-of-charge telephone counselling service from anywhere in New Zealand – we’ve even had calls from Pitcairn!
  • The service is available 24/7 and every day of the year
  • There are averagely 450 LifeLine counsellors throughout New Zealand. They’re fully trained and supervised volunteers
  • The organisation is surprisingly leanly run. An exceptionally qualified but volunteer Board oversees a staff of three part-timers ... the Administrator/Secretary, National Clinical Manager and National Fundraiser
  • In 2009, LifeLine was averaging 4,500 calls a month but when the impact of the recession began to be felt across the country, calls climbed to double that
  • The 4 September 2010 Canterbury earthquake prompted a further spike in calls to 14,000 in one month. 
  • A critical value of the 0800 number is the ability to “trip” to the next available Centre so, when LifeLine Christchurch has been evacuated (twice so far) by earthquakes, other Centres are able to immediately respond
  • The main reasons for calling LifeLine traditionally are: Mental/Psychiatric, Depression, Anxiety, Loneliness, Family, Employment/Financial, Self Worth, Relationship, Lack of Confidence. In the 2009 year, 4.9%  (3320) calls were suicide-related ... 171 of those were suicide in progress.
  • LifeLine New Zealand is funded primarily through grants from trusts and donations