The Newton Wickham Auckland Dental Association Trust (NWADAT) was set up over 13 years ago having recognised the need for charitable dental aid to assist in the care of the underprivileged in overseas countries, especially the Pacisfic Island nations.
The Trust was a partnership between the late Dr Wickham and the ADA. Dr Wickham was passionate about dentistry, particularly the pastoral care of dental professionals, and as he was a great traveller and supporter of dental aid overseas.
Over the last twelve years the Trust has supported numerous international dental projects in places such as Cambodia, Nepal, India and our neighbours in the Pacific. This has been achieved by offering expertise from volunteers, financial assistance and provision of dental products and small dental equipment from our storage shed in East Auckland.
After several scoping missions to Fiji, undertaken in 2012 and 2013, the Trust has recently launched a new initiative Smiles for the Pacific and have come up with a mutually beneficial proposition for a partnership with the Ministry of Health, Fiji that involves refurbishing a dental surgery within the Lautoka Dental Hospital. Smiles for the Pacific will operate from this surgery utilising the expertise of a rotating group of volunteer dental professionals from New Zealand.
The Smiles for the Pacific project centres around providing free dental treatment, especially those cases which are too difficult for the local dentists (ie. saving teeth that may otherwise be extracted). This way there is a sharing of knowledge and also the opportunity to up skill the local practitioners by showing them techniques that they may not have been exposed to. Dental specialists may be able to mentor local practitioners in other beneficial procedures also possibly providing free lectures or workshops.
The goal is simply to provide a voluntary dental service for pacific patients who do not have access to quality dental treatments.
The trustees have been careful to ask the Fijians what we can do for them, rather than tell them what they need. The result is a huge amount of gratitude and a WIN WIN benefit for the Pacific people and dentists.
Now, Smiles for the Pacific needs YOU, the dental professionals, to indicate your willingness to volunteer your time and expertise. In doing so, as well as the immense satisfaction of helping those less fortunate you will get to experience 'the real Fiji' and it's legendary hospitality, as well as escaping New Zealand weather for a week or so of tropical bliss (hopefully with your family).