(ED BSc (Massey) BDS PhD PGDipComDent DipGrad (Otago) JP)
(Ngai Tahu, Ngati Kahungunu Ki Heretaunga)
Professor: Preventive and Social Medicine and Oral Diagnostic and Surgical Sciences, University of Otago.
John is responsible for the integration of Hauora Māori/oranga niho in the curriculum of the undergraduate Bachelor of Dental Surgery and the Bachelor of Oral Health. John is also the director of the Ngai Tahu Māori Research Unit within the Centre for Hauora Māori. The Unit was established in 1996 as a partnership between Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu and the Dunedin School of Medicine.
John has published widely on oranga niho. His PhD thesis topic was ‘Oranga niho: A review of Māori oral health service provision utilizing a kaupapa Māori methodology’. The thesis was originally submitted for the Master of Community Dentistry but on the recommendation of the examiners it was awarded the higher degree of a PhD. John has also published numerous papers and books on a number of aspects of hauora Māori including hauora rangatahi; hauora wahine; Kai paipa and Maori and Injury Prevention.
John established Te Whare Kaitiaki, a Māori oral health clinic for whanau within the Faculty of Dentistry in 1990, so it is now in its 23rd year of operation. One of his current responsibilities is the coordinator for the Faculty of Dentistry final year dental student clinical placement with Māori oral health providers throughout the motu.
John has spearheaded two recent oranga niho research projects. The first is the International Collaborative Indigenous Health Research Partnership which is a multinational, multi-million dollar Health Research Council funded project with Indigenous research partners in Australia and Canada. In Aotearoa, the research partners are Raukura Hauora O Tainui and the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development. The project focusses upon the oral health on mothers and their new born babies who will be followed through as infants. The second oranga niho research project is with research partners Te Manu Toroa in Tauranga. This project, also funded by the Health Research Council will focus upon the oral health of tangata whaiora.
John was a co-curator of the exhibition “Te Aō Māori: Māori Treasures from the Otago Museum”, which opened at the Shanghai Museum in China in July 2011 where he also presented a public lecture and had two papers published in Mandarin. John is also an internationally recognized Māori playwright and a recipient of the Bruce Mason Playwright Award. A new production of his acclaimed play, Michael James Manaia, was a standout hit at the International Festival of the Arts in Wellington at the beginning of this year, and will open in Auckland in September and Melbourne in October. He was a commissioned officer in the New Zealand Territorial Force and was awarded the Efficiency Decoration and the New Zealand Defence Services Medal.