The head of nursing and midwifery on the West Coast will be the new chief nurse at the Ministry of Health.
The position has been vacant since last December when former chief nurse Mark Jones left amid concerns about his spending, including on a yacht charter.
The ministry says Jane O'Malley will take up the role in September.
Dr O'Malley holds a master's degree in nursing from New York University and a doctorate from Victoria University in Wellington.
She has been director of nursing on the West Coast for the past five years.