Share your story - English

Closed 24 Mar 2024

Opened 7 Feb 2024


Hearing from you

It’s really important that we hear from people like you. Understanding your experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic will help to ensure Aotearoa New Zealand is as prepared as possible for future pandemics.

You can share your experiences by using our online survey, where you’ll be asked two broad questions:

Question 1: Looking back – what would you like the Inquiry to know about your experiences of the pandemic? 

Question 2: Moving forward – what lessons should we learn from your experiences so we can be as prepared as possible for a future pandemic?

It’s fine if you only answer one question if you feel you’ve covered all the points you want to make.

As part of your response to the questions, you are free to tell us about anything you think might be useful.

Thinking about the first question, you might like to share your views and experiences of public health measures, such as lockdowns or mandatory use of masks, through to the effects of the pandemic on you and your family, like loss of income for example.

For the second question, you might choose to focus on one or two things you experienced, and what we can learn from them – or you might describe a range of things that you, your whānau, or your community faced during the pandemic and, based on this, how we could be more prepared in the future. 

Supporting information you might find useful

Before you share your experiences, you may like to look at some of our resources, such as our terms of reference, a pandemic timeline or our frequently asked questions. These could be useful if you want to refer to a specific time or event that particularly shaped your experience of the pandemic, and you think we should know about.

Other information we will ask you for and how it will be treated

After you’ve finished your submission, you will be asked some questions about your age, location, and ethnicity. While providing this information is optional, it helps our Inquiry better understand how different people were affected by the pandemic. You are also invited to provide your contact details. It’s voluntary for you to share these personal details, but it does mean we could get in touch with you if we need any more information.

Your personal information, such as your name and contact information, will be kept confidential by the Inquiry.

All submissions are covered by interim non-publication orders, which means what you share with us about your experiences of COVID-19 will be kept confidential for the duration of the Inquiry. You can also ask – when you complete the survey – that Commissioners keep your submission permanently confidential if you wish to.

More details about how we will treat the information that you share with us can be found here alongside other information about the Inquiry’s procedures.

Reviewing the terms of reference

The New Zealand Government has said it is committed to expanding the terms of reference for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons Learned.

The terms of reference set out the purpose and scope of the Inquiry and determine what areas the Inquiry may investigate, and which evidence gathered should be considered in the final report and recommendations from the Inquiry. 

The Government has asked the Royal Commission to consult with the public on its behalf on changes to the terms of reference.

You can read more about the current terms of reference and provide your feedback on them by returning to

Thank you

Looking ahead, the only way we can be prepared for the future is if we learn from our past experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Submissions are open now and close on 24 March 2024, and the Inquiry expects to report back by 30 September 2024. We know the pandemic has had significant effects for all New Zealanders, and that sharing your experiences may be difficult or upsetting. For that reason, on behalf of the Inquiry, thank you for taking the time to share these experiences with us – it really is important, and appreciated.

You can start your submission now by clicking on the Submission form link below.

What happens next

Public submissions to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons Learned are now closed.

Thank you to everyone who has shared their story with the Inquiry. A vital part of the work of the Inquiry is hearing from Aotearoa New Zealanders about their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The submissions we have received will be considered alongside other interviews conducted and evidence received to form the Inquiry’s final report. 

You can keep up with the work of the Inquiry by subscribing to our newsletter, visiting our website, or following the Inquiry on social media (Facebook and LinkedIn).

The opportunity to provide feedback on the terms of reference has also ended. This feedback will be provided to the Department of Internal Affairs, who will provide advice to the New Zealand Government ahead of any changes made to the terms of reference for the Inquiry. We expect to know more about the next steps by June 2024.