National Rural Health Conference 2024

As we step into 2024, we would like to wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year! With just over two months to go, we’re gearing up for the National Rural Health Conference 2024, Kahikatea tū i te uru | Growing stronger, together.

Save the dates: April 5-6, 2024. Join us in Te Whanganui-a-Tara for the flagship event of our calendar year. Early bird registrations close on 29 February, so register now to make the most of this offer!

The programme is published and full of insightful discussions on all things rural health. The themes of equity, leadership, technology, resilient communities, and growing the workforce, are embedded throughout the two days, and with over 70 presentations there will be something for everyone!

Kickstarting the event on April 4th is a pre-conference day featuring a PRIME Day and a Division of Rural Hospital Medicine – Registrars’ Day. Check out the programme tab for all the information.

We look forward to welcoming you at Tākina: Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, where we’ll share stories, research findings, wisdom, and knowledge. See you there!

Meet the Speakers

Conference MC: Jehan Casinader

Our conference MC, Jehan Casinader, is an award-winning journalist, keynote speaker and mental health advocate.

He was named “Broadcast Reporter of the Year” at the Voyager Media Awards in 2020, and “Reporter of the Year” at the New Zealand Television Awards in 2018.

In the aftermath of natural disasters, terror attacks, sporting triumphs and everything in between, Jehan has helped hundreds of Kiwis to share their vulnerable and deeply personal stories with the rest of the country.

A survivor of depression and suicidality, he is the author of This Is Not How It Ends: How rewriting your story can save your life (HarperCollins).

Alongside his journalism work, Jehan speaks to a wide range of organisations about the transformative power of storytelling – in the areas of wellbeing, leadership and diversity. He’s passionate about health and wellbeing in rural communities.

Jehan will share his own journey with us in a special keynote during the conference.

Keynote Speaker: Dr Cath Cosgrove

Keynote: Unleashing the power of Attract-Connect-Stay to build a strong rural health workforce
Friday 5 April at 4.30pm

Cath is one of Australia’s leading experts in rural health workforce. Her research on how the rural health workforce can be fundamentally strengthened has informed the practice and approaches of peak rural health agencies, government departments, rural health services, and rural communities.

Her innovative ‘Whole-of-Person Retention Improvement Framework’ and ‘Attract Connect Stay’ solution, particularly the Community Connector Program, have gained international recognition for generating new understandings of, and solutions for rural health workforce. Cath currently operates a management consultancy business that offers training and support to rural health and social care services.

Her business helps services and communities to establish and implement the Attract Connect Stay solution, which improves their ability to attract and retain healthcare professionals in rural areas.

Cath is deeply passionate about addressing rural access inequities and resource challenges and dedicated to supporting rural communities in becoming thriving and sustainable places to live and work.

Keynote Speaker: John Macaskill-Smith

Keynote: A technological future for rural health
Saturday 6 April at 9.15am

John is CEO of Spark Health – focused on supporting and spring boarding clinical digital innovation across the sector: Connecting people and systems.

John has a broad background and many success stories leading change and transformation in the health sector. John has experience across the spectrum – Government, MoH/HFA NGO: leading one of New Zealand’s largest PHO over 5 DHBs with a massive rural/regional high need population; Clinical start-ups – Tend and Equine Health, and internationally in the UK, US and the Middle East. He has been responsible for major innovations introducing business, technology and clinical changes that have spread to national and international adoption.

John is also involved in governance roles across New Zealand and in a number of international settings across health, animal health, IT and education.

Keynote Speaker: A/Prof Matrie Harwood

Keynote: Health leadership from a Te Ao Māori perspective
Friday 5 April at 11.00am

MBChB (University of Auckland), PhD Medicine (University of Otago), Ngāpuhi.

Matire is a Māori health academic based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She divides her time between the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, where she is Deputy Dean; and Papakura Marae Health Clinic working as a General Practitioner.

She has served on several national Boards and Advisory Committees including Waitematā District Health Board, Health Research Council, COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group at the Ministry of Health and the Hauora Māori Advisory Committee to the Minister.

Matire has been recognised for her work with numerous awards across research, teaching and leadership roles. These include the 2017 L’Oréal UNESCO New Zealand ‘For Women In Science Fellowship’ for research in Indigenous health, the Health Research Council’s Te Tohu Rapuora award in 2019 for leadership in research to improve Māori health, the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners Community Service Medal in 2022 and the Butland Award in 2023 for Excellence in Research Supervision.

Keynote Speaker: Dr Ratu Mataira

Keynote: Solving global climate change from the Ngauranga Gorge
Saturday 6 April at 4.30pm

Physicist Dr Ratu Mataira is on a mission to harness the power of the sun; right here in Te Whanganui-a-tara Wellington.

Ratu Mataira completed his PhD in Applied Superconductivity, specialising in No-Insulation HTS Coils and Superconducting Power Supply Technologies. By the end of his PhD he had set the bar as the most prodigious student to graduate Robinson Research Institute, the world leader in such technologies.

The 31-year-old leads OpenStar Technologies, a Wellington based start-up building a ‘levitated dipole’ fusion reactor prototype. Fusion is the process that happens inside the sun and other stars, when hydrogen atoms “fuse” to make helium, releasing tremendous amounts of energy.

Ratu Mataira’s OpenStar startup has secured more than $10 million in seed investment to work on creating a fusion reactor, which, if successful, would provide New Zealand with a zero-carbon-emission, dependable baseload power source. OpenStar hopes to have its first prototype ready for testing by the end of the year.

Ratu will talk to us about the work they are doing in the Ngauranga Gorge and what we might learn from their team in terms of the power of scalable technologies in solving the problems we have in rural health.

Early bird closes
29 February 2024
Standard from 
1 March 2024
Registration inclusions
General Practitioner/Rural Hospital Doctor – Hauora Taiwhenua member $735 $840
  • Attendance at all conference sessions (Friday – Saturday)
  • Daily catering (morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea)
  • Welcome reception
  • Ability to purchase a conference dinner ticket
General Practitioner/Rural Hospital Doctor – Non Hauora Taiwhenua member $895 $1,000
Nurse Practitioner – Hauora Taiwhenua member $580 $690
Nurse Practitioner – Non Hauora Taiwhenua member $685 $780
*Other Health Professional – Hauora Taiwhenua member $480 $580
*Other Health Professional – Non Hauora Taiwhenua member $580 $690
Student $55 $80
**Non clinical $950 $1,045

The programme for the upcoming conference is now complete and available to view, find the link below.


We look forward to partnering with you

Opportunities to promote your brand, product or service, make a positive first impression, or revitalise and reconnect with existing relationships include:

  • Conference sponsorship: claim a high-profile position at this conference and demonstrate your commitment to the quality of rural health in NZ.
  • Conference or service sponsorship: associate your brand, product or service exclusively with the conference- individual or multiple sponsorship.
  • Exhibition stand: present your brand, product or service as part of the exhibition area where delegates socialise & enjoy their tea breaks & lunch.
View the sponsorship prospectus here

Event Spotlight: Conference and Awards Dinner

Join us for an unforgettable evening of networking, recognition, and celebration on Friday 5th April, at Tākina Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre!

The National Rural Health Conference and Awards Dinner has always been a showcase event for Conference attendees.

The evening is a lively event with fabulous food and a live band. Do join us. This is as chance to forge connections that extend beyond professional affiliations. Build friendships with fellow community advocates, practitioners, and supporters who share your passion for nurturing the health and well-being of our rural communities.

Also highlighted as part of the evening is the awards ceremony, where the coveted Peter Snow Memorial Award will be presented to an individual whose contribution to their rural communities as well as recognising their outstanding contribution to rural health in either service, health research or innovation.

Any opportunity to connect with like-hearted rural health visionaries, healthcare providers, and community advocates under one roof should be made the most of and this one comes by just once a year.

Register now to secure your spot and connect with like-minded individuals and celebrating our community at its core. Don’t miss out – spaces are limited!