Kura Wananga hosts first Oranga Niho event in te reo Maori

2 September 2013

Celebrities have been brushed aside in favour of local children being the stars in this year’s Oral Health Week events in Gisborne, says Tairawhiti District Health oral health promoter, Leanne Bodle.

And one of the events is being billed as the first of its kind to be conducted purely in te reo Maori.

The recently opened Kura Wananga school on Poho o Rawiri marae’s Kaiti Hill site will host the te reo Maori event between 11.30am and 1pm on Wednesday 11 September, but Mrs Bodle says the tamariki (children) will be the celebrities this year.

“At last year’s events Mayor Meng Foon came along to brush his teeth and he was great. So this year we talked about doing the same thing again, inviting a celebrity to brush their teeth with the tamariki.  But we felt that this would distract from the importance of the kids… they’re our rising stars! 

“We’re pretty confident this is the first Oranga Niho or Oral Health Week event to be conducted purely in te reo Maori. It’s also the Kura Wananga’s first big event since opening.”

Mrs Bodle said the Kura Wananga event and two similar events at Barnardos and Te Hapara Whanau Aroha Centre were information sharing occasions. 

“They’re free events sponsored by the Gisborne branch of the Save the Children Fund. They’re open to everyone, and they’re designed to help parents and whanau understand the importance of good oral health.  Activities include having the tamariki at the Kura create a healthy lunch of soup and rolls, fruit kebabs and healthy dips. There’ll also be fun, group tooth-brushing, oral health activities for children, and Colgate’s’ mascots Dr Rabbit and  Dr Brushwell will be at all three events.”

Tairawhiti District Health will also use the events as an additional opportunity to launch its “Enrol from Birth” policy. Mrs Bodle says the best way to prevent tooth decay is by engaging with the parent before the first tooth erupts.

Spot prizes and giveaways include a major prize at each event of a treatment voucher for an adult thanks to the generosity of Amber Dental and  David Edgar Dental Centre.

Oranga Niho (Oral Health Week) free information sharing events are at:

  • Barnardos, Ormond Road – Monday 9th September, 6-7.30pm
  • Kura Wananga, Poho o Rawiri, Ranfurly Street – Wednesday 11th September, 11.30-1pm
  • Te Whanau Aroha Centre, Childers Road – Friday 13th September, 10-11.30am

Tairawhiti District Health Board chair David Scott said the events were “wonderful initiatives”.

“A significant number of our district’s pre-schoolers and five- to seven-year olds attend kohanga reo or Kura Kaupapa Maori schools. It is in this age range where Tairawhiti statistics for early tooth decay are well above the national average…anything that raises the profile of good oral hygiene is good for the health of our community.”


For more information:

Kathy McVey, Communications Manager

06 869-0500 ext 8115   or   021 223-7094