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Clocktower.Monday 27 August 2018 12:16pm

Dental facility image
An artist's impression of the University of Otago dental teaching facility and patient treatment clinic which will be built in South Auckland later this year. Photo: Jasmax Architecture.

The University of Otago is building a dental teaching facility and patient treatment clinic in South Auckland to help meet high health needs, while providing students with wide-ranging learning opportunities in a diverse community.

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says by making a real difference to people's lives and a community's health and well-being, the University will be living its strategic commitment to providing for the national good and improving lives.

The University is also committed to helping develop students into good citizens and this project will create a community-focused experience that involves thoughtful giving and service, Professor Hayne says.

Paul Brunton image
Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Health Sciences, Professor Paul Brunton

The $28.2 million, two-storey, 32-chair building will be built upon land owned by the Counties Manukau District Health Board at its Manukau Super Clinic on Great South Road.

Not only will the Faculty of Dentistry regularly consult the community to find out what it needs from the clinics then work to deliver that, the Faculty will also provide a wide range of outreach activities, Professor Hayne says.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Health Sciences, Professor Paul Brunton, says the project is a win-win situation for both the local community and the University.

“Patients are contributing to the education of the country's future dentists and, in exchange, they have access to high-quality dental care.”

The Counties Manukau dental teaching facility and patient treatment clinic will follow the long-standing social contract model operated successfully in Dunedin, where patients receive treatment provided by students under supervision at a highly accessible cost, Professor Brunton says.

Forty-eight final-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery students will be assigned to the Counties Manukau facility at any one time.

Professor Brunton says treating people in Counties Manukau is only possible because of a much-valued relationship with the district health board, which led to the two institutions signing a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2014 so they could work together to achieve mutual goals.

“The new facility will not only provide students with diverse practical learning opportunities but also increase their understanding of people from a wide range of backgrounds,” Professor Brunton says.

The project will strengthen relationships and partnerships with Māori and Pacific communities as well, based on mutually beneficial goals incorporating patient care, research and education.

Having an Auckland base in an area home to a large number of oral healthcare professionals will also make it easier for them to access continuing education opportunities.

The facility could help meet international demand for upskilling dentists as well, because Auckland is so accessible.

Chief Operating Officer Stephen Willis says design work is already underway and work should start on the site later this year, with the aim of completing the project in 2020.


  • The University of Otago has hosted New Zealand's national, and only, Faculty of Dentistry in Dunedin since 1907.
  • The Faculty of Dentistry is recognised internationally as a leading provider of dental education and research with undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in dentistry, dental technology and oral health.
  • The Faculty includes the Sir John Walsh Research Institute, cementing the link between student education and research with the aim of understanding more about oral health to benefit individuals, communities and out nation as a whole.
  • The 2017 QS World University Subject Rankings identified the Faculty as internationally significant, ranking 26th in the world.
  • The University of Otago has strong working relationships with Pacific staff in the Counties Manukau District Health Board. Existing partnerships with the DHB include the implementation of Pacific Health Sciences Academies in several schools and health service provision to Pacific countries (via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry:

  • The University is home to New Zealand's national centre of dentistry, the Faculty of Dentistry.
  • The Faculty carries out about 76,000 treatments annually in Dunedin for the public from around the lower South Island and includes the Sir John Walsh Research Institute and undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in dentistry, oral health and dental technology.

For further information, contact:

Professor Paul Brunton
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Division of Health Sciences
Tel 03 479 7413

Liane Topham-Kindley
Senior Communications Adviser
Tel 03 479 9065
Mob 021 279 9065

For Māori media:
Matiu Workman
Communications Adviser (Māori)
Tel 03 479 9139
Mob 021 279 9139

Electronic addresses (including email accounts, instant messaging services, or telephone accounts) published on this page are for the sole purpose of contact with the individuals concerned, in their capacity as officers, employees or students of the University of Otago, or their respective organisation. Publication of any such electronic address is not to be taken as consent to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages by the address holder.

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