Welcome to NZDHA

The New Zealand Dental Hygienists' Association is the professional association for Dental Hygienists' and Oral Health Therapists in New Zealand. Dental Hygienists' and Oral Health Therapists are oral healthy preventative practitioners. All practicing professionals in NZ are registered with the Dental Council of NZ and work in private practice and the public sector. Our association was formed in 1993 to unite Oral Health Professionals around the New Zealand and world. We have branches across NZ where members can regularly attend meetings to enhance their professional knowledge. Every year we hold an annual conference. The role of the Dental Hygienist and Oral Health Therapist is to help educate and promote good oral health behaviours in patients, treatment and prevention periodontal disease and restorative care up until the age of 18.

The NZDHA provides a significant amount of information and support for its members. If you would like to register to be a member of our association simply click on the "Join Us" section of our website where you will find all the information you require.

Colgate - Bright Smiles, Bright Futures

Why Oral Care?

Almost 50% of children aged 5-11 years have experienced dental decay in their baby teeth*; the earlier children develop good oral health behaviours, the better their long term oral health will be.

The Bright Smiles Bright Futures™ program gives teachers, children and families the tools they need to make good oral health a permanent part of their lives – focusing on building confidence to enable kids to take control of their own oral health.

What’s in the kits?

Primary School: Our Primary School kits are created for children between the ages of 5-9. The kits feature everything you need to fit oral health lessons into your existing curriculum. Each kit is suitable for classes of up to 32 kids.

Preschool: Our Preschool kits are created for children between the ages of 3-5. The kits cover not only good oral health but also hand washing with Palmolive. Each kit is suitable for classes of up to 28 kids.

English and Te reo Māori kits available.

2 easy ways to order!

Online – visit colgateBSBF.com.au

Freecall – 1800 075 685 (Australia) 0800 556 615 (New Zealand)

Maximum of 8 kits per school per year, while stocks last.

To find out more about the program visit colgateBSBF.com.au

*Ministry of Health. 2010. Our Oral Health: Key findings of the 2009 New Zealand Oral Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of HealthOver 20 Years

Award Winners 2019

Susan Moffat

Colgate Dame Annette King Award for Excellence and Leadership in Oral Health

Dr Susan Moffatt

Susan Moffat graduated as a school dental nurse in 1984 and worked for the School Dental Service (SDS) for many years. In 1999, she was appointed to a position at the University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry, initially as a clinical tutor in the dental therapy programmes, and later as a lecturer in both the dental therapy and oral health programmes. Susan is now Convenor of the Bachelor of Oral Health programme, and will be well-known to all Otago dental therapy and oral health graduates, having played a part in their education for 20 years!

Susan is passionate about advocating for the dental therapy, dental hygiene, and oral health therapy professions. In the past, she has served as a member of the NZDTA National Council, the NZDOHTA Board, and the DCNZ Dental Therapist and Dental Hygienist/Dental Therapist Boards. Her research interests are also profession-related, and include the oral health workforce and education, and dental public health. Susan’s PhD research focussed on the history of New Zealand’s SDS and she plans to publish a book on this topic, perhaps in time for the SDS Centenary in 2021. In the meantime, she enjoys sharing her research by presenting to interested groups.

Dental Hygienist of the Year

Paula Palmer

Paula Palmer - Dental Hygienist, with experience over 35 years in dentistry. Paula has gained comprehensive dental knowledge, first working as a dental assistant, training as a Dental Therapist, then studying Dental Hygiene in the early 1990's. She pioneered the way for dentists in the region and so many patients to the necessary introduction and relevance of a regular dental hygiene appointment.  Paula, has worked with a number of local general dental practices, along with prosthodontists, orthodontists, endodontists and oral specialists. Paula's primary role with the local orthodontic practice evolved from hands on into education only and then referring if required.

Passion - Paula's belief is with 'education is knowledge and with this you can make an informed choice'. Her passion for educating patients on a preventable disease lead her to opening her own practice in 2015 with this emphasis. Access Dental was born, its ethos ' a new direction in dentistry', affordable dentistry, open longer hours, however above all, ensuring tools were given to ensure patients knew they could control their oral health outcomes. Paula has a team of 8, this includes, three dentists, herself, two admin/receptionist, and two dental assistants. She is shortly taking on a new graduate BOH to mentor.

Volunteer Work - Paula has also held leadership roles nationally and locally in health and community groups and gets satisfaction from working with like-minded people to achieve a common goal. She has worked on working committees, to promote Dental Hygienist roles and sought acknowledgement of them being a vital part of better Oral health in NZ. Paula's work in the community has been on a volunteer basis from educating expectant new mothers, teenagers, the elderly along with their caregivers. She also offers advice on products and education to local pharmacy's, DHB, and other health professionals in the area. She has travelled extensively over the past 10 years, ensuring wherever she went she organised to share the oral health knowledge with those missing this education, and care.

Paula has served as Vice President and President of the NZ Dental Hygiene Association, prior to this she was in leadership roles for the local committee in the Nelson region roles included, chairperson, and vice chairperson, CPD officer, for the several years.

Paula Palmer

Oral Health Therapist of the year

Yun-Yu LIU (YY)

Yun-Yu Liu (YY) is an Oral Health therapist. She studied Bachelor of Oral Health (BOH), class of 2011 at the University of Otago New Zealand. After graduation she began working as a therapist with Waikato DHB. Four years later, picking up her hygiene skills also. Since then she has been working part time in both worlds.

In February 2013, she accepted the secretary position for NZDOHTA Waikato branch till mid 2014. From there Waikato branch had created the CPD/social club and starting from mid 2014 till mid 2018 she was organising guest speakers and running events for the CPD/social club, which allowed us to continue collegial support and CPD activities.

In 2018 she worked closely with public health nurses to provide home visits, currently

She is actively involve with mentoring new graduates and providing supervision of AUT/Otago students when they are on placement.

She is very passionate about her job, caring to colleagues and everyone that she works with. She gives my best to provide a positive experience for every child, also, to walk alongside her adult patients working together to achieve the best outcome.

NZDOHTA Waikato branch are very fortunate to have dental therapist/oral health therapists who are at different stages of their career. She would love to see that they could utilise the skills, experiences and knowledge from each one of them and be able to grow together and support each other as a group.

Dental Therapist of the Year

Arish Naresh

Arish has led the Oral Health Services in Tairawhiti region to achieve the lowest rate of children requiring general anaesthetic dental care. Arish has worked on Saturdays and dresses up in child friendly costumes to ensure the most anxious kids and their whanau have an opportunity to ren-engage with services. More than 40 children previously earmarked for dental care under GA have now been treated safely in clinics by Arish. His leadership has also led to 40 reduction in decay rate for Maori 12 year olds enrolled in the service.

Children with intellectual disabilities that were not being seen in clinics previously are also being cared for in Arish’s evening and weekend clinics. Arish also led the development of the Hapu Mama Oranga Niho.

Arish was recently appointed a national ambassador for the White Ribbon campaign and has also been elected as the convenor for International Oral Health Association. He is a Justice of Peace, board member of UNICEF NZ, member of Asia NZ Foundation, Advisor to NZ Federation of Multicultural Councils, Executive Member of Allied Health Aotearoa Board.

His most recent work includes providing free volunteer dental work for slum children in Delhi and fundraising to support education for girls In these slum communities. Arish also lectures on oral health and sometimes spends 25-30 weekends of the year away fulfilling his NZDOHTA responsibilities. He has been the Chairperson for the past 2 years. Arish was awarded “Tairawhiti Men of the Year” for his services to community development and recognised with the local hero medal and civic award for the region. He was awarded the University of Auckland certificate of high achievement in the Kiwi bank Young NZ’er of the Year 2015 awards.

Arish has been appointed to the role of Chief Allied, Scientific and Technical Officer for Capital Coast DHB. Arish is seen as a trail blazer in his field and works tirelessly to promote advancing of the professions.


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Henry Schein Dental

Supporting Organisations & Associations

IFDH - International Federation of Dental Hygienists
The D3 Group
DHAA - Dental Hygienists Association of Australia Ltd
NZAO-Association of Orthodontists
Mene Mene Smiles for Life
Te Ao Marama - The New Zealand Maori Dental Association
ACFF ANZ - Alliance for a Cavity Free Future
Logo - A friend of Kokorosa