Ten country doctors are being recognised as New Zealand's first specialists in rural hospital medicine.
The Medical Council created the new category of specialist last year to recognise the skills of doctors working in the area.
The Royal College of GPs says the doctors being recognised at a function in Wellington on Friday have been assessed over the past few months, but have years of experience.
The chairperson of its Division of Rural Hospital Medicine, Garry Nixon, says the new specialty will also help to solve staff shortages by giving younger doctors a career path.
Dr Nixon says six junior doctors became the first to begin a four-year training programme in December, so they could also become rural hospital specialists.