COVID-19 Insights Tracker

2021 edition

Understanding the hearts and minds of Kiwis during COVID

As the COVID-19 Delta situation unfolds, we are regularly reaching out to Kiwis, including business owners, to understand their current headspace. We are committed to providing this information free of charge to help make a difference where we can.

This tracker is an adaptation of our 2020 COVID-19 Insights Tracker. 

If you're interested in getting COVID-19 insights specific to your business and/or industry, please don't hesitate to get in touch.



How to use this tracker

Filter and slice each of the six questions by age, generation, gender, region and business size using the drop down menus. Hold ctrl and click to select multiple filter options. 

21 October summary

Fieldwork was conducted between October 13 and October 15. 

Concern has spiked over the past two weeks 

Currently, two-thirds (67%) of New Zealanders feel a strong level of concern toward the Covid-19 situation in New Zealand, which has increased significantly since the last wave (55%: 30th September). 

New Zealanders are getting more concerned about the impact Covid-19 is going to put on our healthcare system (60% vs. 48%: 30th September) with greater awareness regarding our ICU capacity. 

The prolonged period of stricter lockdowns continues to increase concern towards economic conditions (51% vs. 45%: 30th September), as well as the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders (48% vs. 39%: 30th September) including mental health (33% vs 28%: 30th September) 

As we move towards summer and season events, there is growing concern that holidays will be postponed or cancelled (30% vs 21%: 30th August). 

Unvaccinated Kiwis are more concerned about economic conditions, mental health, and being disconnected from friends and family than their own health and well-being. 

Including the last two waves of tracking, concern among those not intending to get vaccinated (29%) is significantly lower than those already vaccinated (63%). 

  • Non-intenders are most concerned about economic conditions (52%), their mental health (42%), being disconnection from family and friends (29%), as well as other comments around being forced to vaccinate and losing their freedom due to government regulation. 
  • What they are not so concerned about is their health and wellbeing (15%) and the prospect of a resurgence of the virus (14%). 

The window is drawing shut for Auckland to be in Level 1 before Christmas  

Since the beginning of the lockdown, New Zealanders believed Auckland would return to Alert Level 1 in six weeks (around October 11). Now that we are past this date, half of New Zealanders (49%) now believe the prospect of Auckland returning to Alert Level 1 will occur in two months at the very earliest. 

South Islanders are more optimistic about their alert level status with over half (58%) indicating they will be in Alert Level 1 in 4 weeks at the latest. 

Incentivising vaccination prompts unvaccinated Kiwis to come forward 

Prior to the Vaxathon on Saturday August 16, 90% of New Zealanders indicated they were either vaccinated or are intending to get the jab. 

The 37,500 first doses of the vaccine administered during the Vaxathon highlights how creating events and incentivising the unvaccinated aids in increasing vaccination statuses—as suggested in the previous wave of tracking. 

From the September 30 wave: Of those who were unsure about being vaccinated, 36% said they would get the jab if it was incentivised in some way.  

Confidence in the NZ Government decreasing 

At the beginning of the August lockdown, 59% of New Zealanders were confident the government was doing as much as they could in response to Covid-19. Seven weeks later and this confidence has plummeted to 35%. The majority of Kiwis (61%) now believe the New Zealand Government could be doing more or isn't doing enough.  

In terms of managing alert levels and alert level restrictions in Auckland, only one-third believe the government has managed this well (35%), which is even less among Aucklander’s (28%). 

  • 41% of New Zealanders believe Auckland has been managed by the New Zealand Government poorly (46% among Aucklanders). 

However, there is more optimism behind the government’s management of North Island regions outside of Auckland, Waikato, and Northland (48%), with dwellers in those regions particularly favourable towards the response (54%). 

One-third of New Zealanders believe the government’s alert level management in Northland (32%) and the South Island (33%) has been poor, influenced by dwellers in the regions separately. 


New call-to-action

Brand sentiment

The brand sentiment graph looks at positive and negative sentiment towards a brand, and plots that against the number of mentions. There is opportunity for brands in the bottom right quadrant to speak louder as they show strong sentiment but their mentions are low.

15 October 2021 results


To view last years results, click here.

Past summaries

2 September Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between 27 August* and 30 August** 2021.

*Fieldwork took place during the announcement of regions south of Auckland moving to Level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday 31 August
**Fieldwork was completed prior to the 4pm announcement confirming regions South of Auckland moving to Level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday 31 August while Northland and Auckland remain at Level 4.


Most New Zealanders are feeling positive despite the lockdown.  

  • 2 in 3 New Zealanders have often felt positive emotions over the past week while in Level 4. 
  • Around half have been feeling loving (51%), happy (50%), or positive (49%) despite the lockdown situation. 
  • For comparison, our 26 March 2020 (Level 4) wave saw Kiwis reported slightly higher levels of loving (54%), happy (51%), positive (51%).  
  • Only one-third of New Zealanders claim to have frequently felt negative emotions with stress being the leading emotion (26%). 
  • This is significantly down from the 49% reported in our 26 March 2020 (Level 4) wave, and even down from the 38% reported at 1 July 2020 during Level 1.


Concern is down thanks to past lockdown experiences 

Our previous experiences mean the majority of New Zealanders are coping the same, if not better than last time we were in Level 4. 

  • One-third (36%) of New Zealanders indicate they are highly concerned about COVID-19. This is much lower than what New Zealanders experienced in one week of lockdown in March 2020 (52%). 
  • What New Zealanders are specifically concerned about varies. While half are concerned about a resurgence of the virus (54%), over two-fifths are worried about economic conditions (44%) and being disconnected from family and friends (42%). 
  • For comparison, our 21 April 2020 (Level 4) wave saw concern around a resurgence of the virus sitting at 64% and worry about economic conditions at 43%. 
  • 25% of New Zealanders are coping better. Most attribute this to being better prepared because we have experienced lockdown before (89%). 
  • Of the 16% who are coping worse, 22% state they are not confident in the lockdown strategy and believe the vaccine is being rolled out too slow.  
  • One-fifth are feeling negative effects to their wellbeing including stress (20%), negative impacts on their mental or physical health (17%) and frustration at being stuck at home again (16%). 


Kiwis believe the economy will feel the most negative impact, not our health 

  • More than half believe the virus will negatively impact local business (64% vs 84% at 26 March 2020), the global economy (61% vs 83%), international business (56% vs 77%), and the New Zealand economy (54% vs 79%). 


New Zealanders think it will take twice as long for Auckland to reach Level 1 

  • New Zealanders believe it will take 6 weeks for Auckland to return to Level 1 due to the number of daily cases and clusters within the region. 
  • For the remaining regions that are yet to receive any recorded cases, New Zealanders believe those regions will return to Level 1 in 3 weeks. 
  • Half believe this will occur within 2 weeks. 
  • New Zealanders are slightly apprehensive about Wellington returning as quickly, with respondents believing it will be 4 weeks until the capital returns to Level 1. 


Business decision-makers are more concerned about COVID-19 compared to the rest of New Zealand (47% vs. 33%) 

  • Business decision-makers are most concerned about economic conditions (53%) and are significantly more likely to be concerned about unemployment, job security or finding a new job (36%).  
  • Compared to non-decision-makers, they are more concerned about the pandemic negatively impacting their friends/family’s mental and physical health (47% vs 30%) and their friends/family’s financial situation (37% vs 20%). 
  • COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting the mental health of decision-makers (33% vs 17% of non-decision-makers). 
  • 2 in 5 indicate it is impacting both their mental and physical health (39%).  


Kiwis agree with the government’s response to the Delta outbreak 

  • 4 out of 5 Kiwis believe the New Zealand Government’s decision to place the country in a Level 4 lockdown was the right decision. 
  • 3 in 5 (60%) New Zealanders believe the government has done enough in response to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. For comparison, at 26 March 2020 (Level 4) this ratio was 3 in 4 (75%). One-quarter (25%) believe the government could be doing more. At 26 March 2020, this was one-fifth (20%) of Kiwis.  
  • 1 in 2 New Zealanders feel they are receiving a necessary amount of information from the media, whereas 1 in 3 are finding it overwhelming. 

22 September Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between 14 September and 17 September 2021.

Positive overall, but stress and negative emotions are increasing

Two out of five New Zealanders state they have been feeling negative emotions over the past week, increase since the start of the lockdown (17 September: 41% vs 30 August: 36%). This increase is attributed to a significantly higher proportion of New Zealanders feeling stressed over the past week (17 September: 31% vs 30 August: 26%).


Prolonged Auckland lockdown is increasing negativity among Aucklanders

Aucklanders are feeling more negative compared to the rest of the country with almost half feeling a negative emotion over the past week.

Over the past week, Aucklanders have felt significantly higher levels of stress (33% vs 26%), negativity (23% vs 16%), sadness (20% vs 15%), and anger (21% vs 11%) when compared to the rest of the country.


Protecting friends and family is the main reason for getting vaccinated

Of those who have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, three-quarters had planned on getting vaccinated from the start.

Those who said they weren’t sure or weren’t planning to but then changed their mind said consideration for their friends and family’s health was the main reason (60%), followed by their own health (48%), to help with herd immunity (40%), and to stop lockdowns (37%).

Of those who are not yet vaccinated, only one-quarter are certain they will get the vaccine (6% of total New Zealanders).

Over half of unvaccinated New Zealanders state they want to do their own research first, are unsure whether they will get vaccinated, or will consider it if circumstances change (10% of total New Zealanders).

  • Of this group, the main reasons that would convince them to get the vaccine include: if they got rewarded in some way (23%) and if they needed a vaccine passport to travel (22%).
  • Additional comments suggest they are waiting for the long-term effects of the vaccine to be clarified, to be shown evidence the vaccine will work, or for mobile vaccination buses that will go to them.

Seven per cent of New Zealanders are unwilling to get vaccinated at this point in time.

Only one-third of New Zealanders believe the vaccine roll-out been done in the best way possible while half of New Zealanders suggest it could have been better or needs improvement.

Two out of five New Zealanders believe the process for getting a Covid-19 test is the best possible method. However, the same proportion believe it could be better or needs improvement.


Covid-19 concern has dropped

High levels of concern about Covid-19 has significantly decreased since the start of the lockdown (17 September: 36% vs 30 August: 31%).

Despite concern decreasing, Aucklanders are significantly more concerned about Covid-19:

  • negatively affecting local businesses (71% vs 65%)
  • impacting the health and wellbeing of Kiwis (45% vs 35%)
  • affecting their children’s education (35% vs 19%)
  • harming the health of their friends and family( 24% vs 14%)
  • impacting their own and family’s mental health (37% vs 24%)
  • affecting their own health (19% vs 12%), and
  • affecting their/family’s financial situation (28% vs 17%).

Fears around a resurgence of the virus, economic conditions, and disconnecting from family and friends remain the most prevalent. However, concern towards community events and activities being cancelled is increasing (17 September: 33% vs 30 August: 26%).

Over half of New Zealanders believe all regions except for Auckland will return in Level 1 in 2 weeks at the most. However, the same proportion believe it will take Auckland 3 to 6 weeks for the same result.

Three-quarters of New Zealanders believe the government made the correct choice to keep Auckland in alert Level 4.

  • A slightly lower portion of Aucklanders agree (69%) with almost one-quarter believing it is too strict.

New Zealanders are beginning to feel more overwhelmed by the information they are receiving from the New Zealand Government.

  • I receive a lot of information, but I feel this is necessary (17 September: 65% vs 30 August: 70%)
  • I receive a lot of information and I am getting overwhelmed (17 September: 23% vs 30 August: 19%).

6 Oct Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between 28 September and 30 September.

Rewards and compensation could get New Zealand over the 90% vaccination target.

Currently, 86% of the eligible population (aged 12+ years) have either had a single or double vaccination or intend to.

6% of the eligible population are still unsure about the Covid-19 vaccine.

  • Among this group, getting paid (32%) or rewarded in some way (24%) would help convince them to get vaccinated compared to preventing further restrictions such as needing a vaccine passport to travel (15%) or attend events (13%), as well as to stop the lockdowns (9%).

5% of the eligible population are not planning to be vaccinated or definitely won’t be.

Concern rising for summer holidays.

With the prolonged lockdown and summer approaching, there is increasing concern around holidays being postponed or cancelled (27% vs 24%: 17th September).

Government confidence is decreasing.

Less than half of New Zealanders believe the New Zealand Government are doing as much as they can (47% vs 57%: 17th Sept).

Emotions are stable.

Emotions have remained stable over the past fortnight with half of New Zealander’s still feeling loving, positive, and happy. Whereas, negativity seems to be softening (36% vs 40%: 17th September).

About this tracker

© 2021 Perceptive and Sapien. No part of the data contained in this report may be edited or reproduced in any way without the permission of Perceptive or Sapien.

If you would like to use the information below please contact Juno Scott Kelly at

If you're interested in getting COVID-19 insights specific to your business and/or industry, please don't hesitate to get in touch.