Otago University says a new training programme will improve the way health professionals interact with Maori and other groups.
Otago and Auckland universities are to train 310 doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, dentists and pharmacists at Gisborne and Whakatane hospitals in a three-year project from next year.
It's designed to boost multi-disciplinary understanding by students, while encouraging them to build careers in rural areas.
The dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Otago University, Peter Crampton, says it'll enable his university to renew East Cape iwi links.
By putting students in areas with iwi-based providers, he says, he's confident their cultural competence skills will improve.