The hole in the Maori dental workforce is starting to be filled.
The Ministry of Health is reporting an increase in the number of applications for Hauora Maori Scholarships to study at the country's only school of dentistry, run by the University of Otago.
Te Ao Marama - the Maori Dental Association - says for the first time the number of applicants is outstripping the 10 grants set aside for dentistry.
Its tumuaki (chair), Rudi Johnson, is thrilled with the interest.
She said it was awesome to see more young Maori wanting to study to become dentists.
Ms Johnson said the value of the scholarships were about $3000 - $4000 a year, which is helpful for a five-year course.
Ministry of Health figures released to Te Manu Korihi show 654 Hauora Maori Scholarships were awarded last year, from 1497 applications.
The total value of the scholarships was almost $1.6 million.