Te Tara O Te Whai Partners With Dental Planet To Successfully Launch New Innovative Oral Health Initiative In Hauraki

Published: Wed 8 May 2024 04:38 PM
Te Tara o Te Whai, a pioneering locality prototype rooted in Hauraki, proudly announces the launch of a funded grassroots oral health initiative in collaboration with Dental Planet, Niho Ora ki Hauraki. Crafted in response to the resounding voice of whānau and community, Te Tara o Te Whai has identified oral health as one of Hauraki's top health priorities, which has led to the development of a tailored oral health service that, in partnership with Dental Planet, addresses the urgent, unmet oral health need that is prevalent within Hauraki.
The partnership with Dental Planet marks a significant step towards providing accessible and essential dental care to eligible adults in Hauraki aged 19 and over who cannot access such services. The oral health initiative offers comprehensive exams, x-rays, extractions, fillings, and hygiene procedures, aiming to alleviate pain and discomfort. To date, Niho Ora ki Hauraki has successfully delivered oral health care to 108 individuals across Thames and Manaia.
One recipient of dental care who accessed the service in Manaia shared, "Niho Ora ki Hauraki has exceeded my expectations. Beyond the dental work, the entire journey has significantly enhanced my Hinengaro (mental and emotional well-being) and Wairua (spiritual). Dental care is a desperate need in our rural communities; this initiative has been a blessing for all of us in Manaia, providing a huge financial relief. A heartfelt thank you to all who made this service a reality for those who live rurally and are too far away to access these services. Nga mihi nui." This pivotal community feedback emphasises the need for continued funding of health opportunities.
Michelle Paekau-Neho, the Programme Manager for Te Tara o Te Whai, expressed her enthusiasm towards the initiative, stating, "By leveraging place-based planning and grassroots decision-making, we are proud to deliver a service that directly responds to the voices of our whānau."
By interweaving the Māori cultural value of Manaakitanga, showing respect, generosity, and a high level of care for others, this makes Niho Ora ki Hauraki unique to existing oral-health services as it acts to ease the specific barriers experienced by the rural communities in Hauraki.
This initiative targets areas within the Hauraki Region that have the highest levels of unmet need, including Manaia, Kaiaua, Paeroa, Waihi, and Thames. The mobile service will rotate through these priority rural areas during the remaining school holiday breaks, delivering two weeks of dental care to each location.
In light of recent announcements by Minister Reti halting further localities' work, this initiative is a testament to the power of community-driven solutions. Michelle emphasised, "While external decisions may impact our work, our commitment to listening to and delivering for our community remains unwavering. Place-based planning enables us to address local needs effectively, and we are excited to witness its expansion across Aotearoa."
The launch of Te Tara o Te Whai's oral health initiative marks a significant milestone in their commitment to improving the health and well-being outcomes of Hauraki communities. Through collaboration and community empowerment, they aim to set a precedent for inclusive and responsive healthcare services nationwide.From left to right: Dental Planet General Manager Alfred Rico, Michelle Moore, Michelle Paekau-Neho, Trish Piko, Amaru Donaldson.

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