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Rural Health Training Pathways

NEW! Rural Medical Student Electives as an alternative to TI overseas electives

Each year, New Zealand medical students in their sixth year of training are required to complete an elective placement over 10 or 12 weeks, depending on which university they attend. Many students often choose to travel overseas for their placement but, due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, this will not be possible for students in 2021 and possibly beyond.

NZRGPN has been working with their rural general practice members, the universities of Otago and Auckland and a variety of other key stakeholders to put packages together to provide exciting options in rural New Zealand.  We believe that students choosing these elective options will have incredible experiences, both clinically and personally, experiencing what it is like to practice medicine in a truly immersive rural community.

The placements will run in ten and twelve-week blocks during university semesters in 2021 (see dates below). While students will most likely spend the majority of their time in the rural practice, some of these electives may also include the opportunity to spend some of the placement in the Mobile Health Bus and/or in a rural hospital. We have organised affordable accommodation and access to local groups and facilities as part of the package to make it more feasible and enjoyable for you.

Many of the locations boast not just amazing scenery but also access to a range of recreational pursuits, connection to local iwi and social groups, and opportunities to experience a much wider spectrum of medical scenarios than in an urban environment.


 2021 Placements for University of Otago students

  • Quarter 3: 24 May – 15 August – Ruatoria, Buller, Golden Bay and Otautau
  • Quarter 4: 30 August – 21 November- Ruatoria, Buller, Golden Bay and Otautau

2021 Placements for University of Auckland students

  • Quarter 3: Monday 17 May – Sunday 23 July 2021 – Dargaville, Wellsford, Turangi, Matamata, Kawhia, Colville and Taumaranui (depending on other student placements)
  • Quarter 4: Monday 23 August – Sunday 29 October 2021 – Dargaville, Wellsford, Kaitaia, Matamata, Kawhia, Colville and Taumaranui (depending on other student placements)


For Otago Medical School (OMS) students, twelve-week placements have been secured in Ruatoria, Buller, Kurow and Otautau and they will be able to preference these placements commencing with Quarter 2 of the 2021 academic year using the University’s online portal.

Auckland University Faculty of Medicine students might be able to undertake a ten-week placement in: Dargaville, Wellsford, Matamata, Kawhia, Colville or Taumaranui (depending on availability).  If you are interested in applying or have any questions, please contact Esther Maxim at

Currently, because of the pressure on domestic placements, there is an agreement between the two medical schools that student placements will only be approved within each University’s catchment. If a student wishes to undertake their elective outside their respective University’s catchment, an application for an exemption must be made to your medical school’s Dean via your Elective Module Convenor. We understand that a student might have strong family, whanau or iwi connections to a specific location and encourage them to discuss applying for an exemption with the Elective Module Convenor as early as possible in the process.

Applications of interest are currently open for these quarters.  There will be a selection process and successful applicants will be notified for an interview.  We anticipate the practices and other key stakeholders will be on the interview panel and they will be held via video conference.

Please contact Esther Maxim on 021547853 or if you would like to know more.

Rural Medical Immersion Programme (RMIP) at the University of Otago

The one-year-long Rural Medical Immersion Programme (RMIP) for fifth-year medical students offers an exciting new generation of learning. It integrates community, primary, secondary, and tertiary medical care through real-life experiential learning across the three clinical schools of Otago School of Medicine. For more information about the programme and who to contact click here.

Rural Hospital Medicine Training Programme

The Rural Hospital Medicine Training Programme is an intensive four-year programme that qualifies you to work as a rural hospital generalist and teaches the core components of generalist knowledge, specific skills and approaches to tackle the plethora of possible hospital presentations in a rural context.  To find out more click here.

Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate in Rural and Provincial Hospital Practice

The Postgraduate Diploma in Rural and Provincial Hospital Practice (PGDipRPHP) and Postgraduate Certificate in Rural and Provincial Hospital Practice (PGCertRPHP) are targeted at doctors practicing or training in rural and remote general practice and / or rural hospital medicine. They are distance-taught and make it possible to undertake relevant study while continuing to live and work in a rural community. The papers are clinically focused with a lot of case-based small group work and there is one 4–6 day residential workshop per paper. The distance learning tools employed include videoconferencing (Zoom) and an interactive web-based teaching platform (Moodle). To find out more please click here.

Pūkawakawa (Programme (University of Auckland)

To here about the programme click here.

Rural Health Interprofessional Programme


Multi-disciplinary rural immersion health training placements by the University of Auckland (Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences), Auckland University of Technology, Waikato Institute of Technology, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Toi Oho Mai, Awanuiarangi, Massey University, University of Canterbury and the University of Otago (Division of Health Sciences) offering undergraduate students from different health disciplines together to learn and gain clinical experience in rural New Zealand.  To find out more click here.

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