Message from the Chair

Kia ora koutou,

The end of 2022 is fast approaching, and it seems like things are getting back to normal finally! We are wearing masks less often in public, attending decent sized social functions, and are hearing other languages when we walk past people in the street once again! Except it’s not quite normal is it - COVID-19 infection rates are on the rise once more and we are all wary of infection (or re-infection!) and having to isolate again if we get sick. 

Actually, we’re all sick of the whole thing, aren’t we?

Through 2022, the Council’s work has returned to some semblance of ‘business as usual’. Highlights for us over the last 6 months include finalising our new strategic plan, establishing Te Hā - Council’s Māori Advisory Committee and progressing work towards mutual recognition of Ireland’s dentistry programmes.

Although the COVID-19 restrictions have eased off, and the mandates have gone, practices have still experienced major challenges with staff and patient illness, all against a backdrop of workforce shortages and an ever increasing demand for dental services. On behalf of the Council, I’d like to thank you for your efforts to continue to service the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, while maintaining high standards of professionalism and care. 

I would like to thank all our Council members for their time, dedication and expertise. I also need to acknowledge and thank everyone who helped the Council during the year and engaged with Council activities—particularly those who served on committees, assessors and supervisors, and those who provided remedial education and support services to practitioners. The support and advice you provide to the Council and practitioners greatly benefits the entire oral health sector and the quality of care available to the New Zealand public. 

The Council staff need special mention. In a year when they have moved office and endured all the issues that go along with that, they’ve also managed superbly through sickness and isolation requirements. There have been some staff changes, and the consequent loss of expertise, but throughout they have been able to maintain the functions of the Council and adapt to the changing health sector landscape. They all need a holiday!

We would also like to acknowledge the Dental Board of Australia, the National Dental Examining Board of Canada, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (Canada), the Commission of Dental Accreditation (USA), and the Dental Council of Ireland for their ongoing collaboration towards reciprocity of the dentistry programmes with Aotearoa New Zealand —the joint work we do benefits the public and practitioners around the world.

We look forward to continuing to progress our strategic initiatives in the new year, and a greater return to normality! Along with the Council staff and Council members, I want to wish you a happy and joyous Christmas season and a relaxing and well-earned summer break. All the best for 2023! 

Noho ora mai!

Andrew Cautley