Dec 13th 2017

About CALD Cultural Competency

This is the first of the eCALD® blog articles.

eCALD® Services is the national provider of CALD (culturally and Linguistically Diverse Group) cultural competence training for the health workforce in New Zealand. Over 25,000 health practitioners have participated in our CALD cultural competency training since 2010. We started eCALD® Services in Auckland because Auckland has become one of the most super diverse cities in the world and we needed to do something to prepare our workforce and to improve patient experience and outcomes for the many CALD patients and families we see in practice.

New Zealand is an increasingly ethnically diverse society and is set to become more so. Auckland in particular has growing Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African communities. Our people come from everywhere, with over 213 ethnic groups represented in New Zealand. In 2016, almost a quarter of Auckland residents were Asian and a quarter had lived here for less than 5 years. This is significant as many newcomers will be unfamiliar with our health system, how our services function, and where to get help.

Betancourt et al. (2002), define cultural competence as “developing an understanding of the patient communities being served, as well as individual patients’ health beliefs and behaviors; considering how these factors interact with the health care system in ways that may prevent diverse populations from obtaining quality health care; and devising strategies to effectively address and monitor them through several interventions”. We live and work in culturally diverse communities and we need to be culturally competent to relate to our clients and their families; and the people who live in our neighbourhood.

Many consider cultural competency to be simply having the skills necessary for addressing language barriers with our clients. Others think that cultural competency is about learning as much as you can about specific cultures. Other views include understanding cultural protocols such as the 'do's and don'ts' for caring for the 'culturally diverse' patient. While learning about a particular culture can be helpful in most situations, a closer examination of the definition of culture highlights that these efforts can lead to stereotyping. Besides which, this is an impossible task with over 200 cultural groups in New Zealand. It’s helpful working in New Zealand’s multicultural environment to understand cultural universals, the hidden values and dimensions on which cultures vary, how to look for these and how to respond appropriately. We need to accommodate our client’s and families’ cultural differences including their cultural and religious beliefs about health and wellbeing, their health practices and their social and cultural needs.

Our education programme adopts the Hofstede’s model of cultural dimensions to provide a theoretical framework for recognising differences in cultural values ( Our courses are evidence-based and pedagogically designed; incorporating theory, experiential and reflective knowledge to introduce and reinforce learning. We aim to enhance learners’ knowledge and the skills and attitudes needed to work with cultures different from our own.

Course Diagram


If you wish to start your journey towards CALD Cultural Competence, take a look at our website You can choose either on-line or face to face learning. The courses are free for health professionals and accredited to meet the professional development requirements of your professional registration body. Best of all, it is fun learning with many interactive exercises, videos and quizzes to keep learning interesting. 


Betancourt, J.R., Green A.R. & Carrillo, J.E. (2002). Cultural Competence in Health Care: Emerging Frameworks and Practical Approaches. New York: The Commonwealth Fund.

Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1). Retrieved from:

About CALD Cultural Competency