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Int Dent J. 2010 Jun;60(3 Suppl 2):223-8.

An oral health intervention for the Māori indigenous population of New Zealand: oranga niho Māori (Māori oral health) as a component of the undergraduate dental curriculum in New Zealand.

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Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Māori are the Indigenous people of New Zealand having migrated across the Pacific from Hawaiki over a 500 year period from 800AD to 1300AD establishing a society based on whānau (family), hapū (subtribe) and iwi (tribe). Today, like other Indigenous populations throughout the world, New Zealand Māori do not enjoy the same oral health status as non-Māori across all age groups. An intervention strategy to improve Māori oral health and to reduce disparities is to develop a dental health workforce that has an understanding of contemporary Māori society and Māori oral health. The Faculty of Dentistry (Te Kaupeka Pūniho) of the University of Otago has a well developed undergraduate programme in Māori culture and Māori oral health. This programme has been reinforced by the adoption of a new Māori Strategic Framework (MSF) which has been designed to be "a vibrant contributor to Māori development and the realisation of Māori aspirations." Goal 5 of the MSF, Ngā Whakahaerenga Pai (Quality Programmes) has the objective to develop and integrate Māori content in the undergraduate course. This paper will discuss the oranga niho Māori (Māori oral health) component of the undergraduate dental curriculum.

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