Dr Jim Mather says he is "humbled and privileged" after being announced the chairman of the Lakes District Health Board.
Health Minister Dr David Clark said in the announcement that Mather was "an outstanding leader",who would put the people of the region first.
Mather said he looking forward to his new role.
"I think this is an important area of public service," he said.
He said he wanted to help improve health outcomes, for Māori in particular, but also for everyone who lived in the region.
Mather said he was most looking forward to meeting the communities that the health board served and getting an understanding of what their expectations were.
"This is a sector I'm very new to ... I have done some work with primary Māori health organisations, so I understand the challenges that they face," he said.
"You've got to have a unifying vision of what an organisation is trying to achieve, but you've also got to have a very strong customer orientation and be very clear about the expectations of the community," Mather said.