An Auckland University study reveals 40% of women who sought help for domestic violence did not receive it.
Researchers interviewed nearly 3000 women aged between 18 - 64 in 2003.
Of these, almost 1000 reported being physically or sexually abused by a partner at some point in their life.
More than three quarters told friends or family about the abuse or, in fewer cases, contacted agencies such as the police or Women's Refuge.
Despite that, 40% reported that no-one tried to help them.
The study's author, Janet Fanslow, says New Zealand needs to establish mechanisms to ensure women get the help they need, when they need it.
"We've seen the tide turning where now New Zealanders believe that family violence is not acceptable so now it is all about a chance for everybody to build their skills in terms of how they pick up their piece of the puzzle."
Women's Refuge was the only agency reported to be helpful by all women who contacted them for help.
Director Heather Henare says there is still a lot of denial surrounding domestic abuse.
The Government is launching a new anti-domestic-violence campaign.