Nelson Marlborough District Health Board says evidence shows if the Maori workforce is left unchanged, chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes will become more prevalent.
The board has established a Maori health workforce action plan that aims to train the current Maori workforce.
It is holding three hui in Motueka, Nelson and Blenheim this week to discuss the plan.
Maori health director Harold Wereta says a survey completed a few years ago showed a need to recruit more young Maori into science and health-related careers.
He says the plan also recommends four pathways to support the current workforce - which are training and development, recruitment, retention and information.
The submissions for the plan close on 22 June.