New Zealand has an urgent need to train and retain obstetrics and gynaecology academics, and postgraduate training pathways are being considered.

To gauge registrar interest in an academic training position and an academic career; analyse the importance of various encouraging factors; and investigate how demographics, experience and encouragers may be associated with academic interest.

All obstetric and gynaecology registrars working in New Zealand were invited by their clinical directors to participate in an online survey in March–June 2011. Statistical analysis, using Fisher’s Exact and chi‐squared tests, was used to investigate how demographic, experience and encourager variables were associated with academic interest.

Of the 58 participants, 46 were women, 32 were New Zealand medical graduates and 43 were on the training program. Over half (54%) indicated they would consider a 1‐year rotating research/teaching position and 45% an academic career. The most important encouraging factors for academic work were interest, opportunity to balance clinical and academic roles, job flexibility (lifestyle and family) and a supportive academic environment. Women were nearly nine times more likely to consider academic training (OR 8.75, P = 0.007), and trainees were one‐third as likely to consider it compared to non‐trainees (OR 0.31, P = 0.073).

New Zealand has the unique ability to approach retention and training issues in a flexible and innovative manner which utilises international links. Clinical academic training positions should be set‐up with quality supervision and support similar pay scales and the opportunity for simultaneous part‐time clinical practice.