Voluntary Bonding Scheme – 2021 intake

Information and details of the hard-to-staff professions, communities and specialties for the 2021 intake of the Voluntary Bonding Scheme, and the accepted registrants.

The Voluntary Bonding Scheme (the Scheme) is a practical initiative run by the Ministry of Health to encourage newly qualified health professionals to work in the communities and specialties that need them most, and to retain essential health professionals in New Zealand. It also aims to increase representation of Māori and Pacific peoples within the health workforce.

The Scheme is targeted to new graduates in eligible professions (and General Practice medical trainees) who are starting their career, with the aim of incentivising them to work in eligible hard-to-staff communities or specialties. Those accepted to the Scheme can become eligible for payments in the first three-to-five years of their career, to help repay their student loan or as top-up income.

Analysis of historical workforce data indicates that registered nurses on the Scheme have higher retention in hard-to-staff specialties compared to nurses not on the Scheme. Of graduate nurses who have registered for the Scheme, the retention rate after five years is up to 27 percent higher than those graduates who did not register for the Scheme.

The Scheme also provides important geographic location incentives for other Scheme professions.

2021 intake registrants

The Scheme’s 2021 intake registration period closed on 31 March 2021. The Ministry accepted 476 registrations received for the intake.

Across all professional categories, 94 registrants are Māori (19.7%), the highest number within any intake, and a 17.5 percent increase on the 2020 intake (80 Māori registrants); 39 registrants in 2021 are Pacific peoples (8.2%), a strong result consistent with recent years.

The intake is comprised of:

  • 340 registered or enrolled nurses, 179 of whom are working in mental health and addictions, the highest number of mental health nurses within any intake of the Scheme
  • 71 midwives in the hardest-to-staff communities, 18 (25.4%) of whom are Māori and 6 (8.5%) of whom are Pacific peoples
  • 29 rural and non-urban general practice trainees
  • public sector sonographers (12), radiation therapists (14) and medical physicists (6)
  • 4 graduate dentists working for Māori oral health providers or rural and remote practices.

A report is attached below which details the distribution of confirmed 2021 Scheme registrants by profession, DHB region, ethnicity, and gender.

Please do not hesitate to make contact ([email protected]) should you have any queries or comments regarding registrants for the 2021 intake of the Scheme, or the Scheme itself.

Accepted registrants by profession


Accepted registrants (2021 intake)

General Practice Medical Trainees


Registered Nurses


Enrolled Nurses






Radiation Therapists


Medical Physicists






Information for 2021 intake registrants

The 2021 intake online Registration of Interest period closed Wednesday 31 March 2021. No further registrations can be considered.

If you have registered for the 2021 intake, you ought to have received an email notification of the outcome of your registration in May 2021 (please also check your junk email folder).

If you have been accepted to the Scheme, for now all you need to do is:

  • abide by the 2021 Terms and Conditions for your profession
  • advise us via email ([email protected]) if you have had any change in email address, and
  • advise us if your career plans have changed and you no longer wish to continue in the Scheme.

Full terms and conditions for each of the eligible health professions for the 2021 intake are available on the Terms and Conditions page. The full list of eligible professions, specialties and communities for the 2021 intake can be found below.

Please do not hesitate to make contact ([email protected]) should you have any queries or comments regarding the Scheme.

2021 intake – hard-to-staff professions, communities and specialties

Postgraduate General Practice Trainees (PGY3-6), who commence GPEP1, 2, or 3 in early 2021:

  • Bay of Plenty DHB (excluding Tauranga and Whakatane urban)
  • Canterbury DHB (excluding, Christchurch other than Banks Peninsula)
  • Capital & Coast DHB (excluding Wellington and Porirua)
  • Hawke’s Bay DHB
  • Lakes DHB
  • Midcentral DHB
  • Nelson Marlborough DHB (excluding Nelson/Richmond)
  • Northland DHB
  • South Canterbury DHB
  • Southern DHB (excluding Dunedin, Mosgiel and Invercargill)
  • Tairawhiti DHB
  • Taranaki DHB
  • Waikato DHB (excluding Hamilton)
  • Wairarapa DHB
  • West Coast DHB
  • Whanganui DHB

Registered Nurses (2021 intake (2020 graduates))


  • Aged Care (aged residential care and older persons' health services)
  • Mental Health (hospital and community, including addiction services)
  • District Nursing
  • Well Child/Tamariki Ora
  • Primary/Practice Nursing within:
    • Māori or Pacific Providers
    • the Auckland DHB region
    • the Counties Manukau DHB region
    • the Waitemata DHB region
    • the Taranaki DHB region



  • South Canterbury DHB
  • Wairoa District
  • West Coast DHB

Enrolled Nurses (2021 intake (2020 graduates))


  • Aged Care (aged residential care and older persons' health services)
  • Mental Health (hospital and community, including addiction services)

Midwives – DHB Employed (2021 intake (2020 graduates))

  • Auckland DHB
  • Bay of Plenty DHB
  • Canterbury DHB
  • Capital & Coast DHB
  • Counties Manukau DHB
  • Dunedin City
  • Hutt Valley DHB
  • Lakes DHB
  • MidCentral DHB
  • Northland DHB
  • Waikato DHB
  • Waitemata DHB

Midwives – Lead Maternity Carers (2021 intake (2020 graduates))

  • Auckland DHB
  • Bay of Plenty DHB
  • Counties Manukau DHB
  • Dunedin City
  • Lakes DHB
  • MidCentral DHB
  • Queenstown Lakes District
  • Waikato DHB
  • Waitemata DHB
  • Whanganui DHB

Sonographers (2021 intake (2020 graduates))

  • Publicly funded health facilities.

Radiation Therapists (2021 intake (2020 graduates))

  • Publicly funded health facilities.

Medical Physicists (2021 intake (2020 graduates))

  • Publicly funded health facilities.

Dentists (2021 intake (2020 graduates))

Any of the eight Māori oral health providers listed below:

  • Te Hiku Hauora – Kaitaia  
  • Ngāti Hine Health Trust – Kawakawa 
  • Raukura Hauora o Tainui – Hamilton
  • Te Manu Toroa – Tauranga  
  • Tipu Ora – Rotorua 
  • Ngati Porou Hauora – Te Puia
  • Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga – Hastings  
  • Ora Toa PHO – Porirua  


practices located in rural or remote areas (to be assessed on a case by case basis prior to your confirmation on the Scheme).

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