Two new $10,000 scholarships were handed out on Tuesday as part of a plan to increase the number of Maori nurses offering health advice over the telephone.
The grants are the result of a partnership between Rau Matatini, an organisation that develops the skills of Maori healthworkers, and Medibank, a provider of health services.
A spokesperson for Rau Matatini, Maria Baker, says two scholarships will be handed out each year, over the next three years, providing nurses with work placements on "healthlines" and helping to cover training costs.
She says the healthlines are becoming more popular with Maori callers, some of whom live in isolated rural areas without access to medical services.
Ms Baker says whanau who can get to a telephone can call at any time for advice from a trained professional.
She says this type of service is popular because it's free and available 24 hours a day.
Ms Baker says very few Maori nurses are working on healthlines, and more are needed.