Newly appointed board member for Etu Pasifika in Christchurch, Dr Tule Fanakava Misa, BDS, NZDREX, is a Tongan dentist who aims to promote and encourage dentistry as a desirable career option for future Pacific health professionals.
Dr Misa graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery from the University of South Pacific and worked as a dentist for four years in Tonga. The mother of five also gained a postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Dentistry and a Masters in Community Dentistry at Otago University.
Dr Misa has worked in both private practice and as a public health dentist for the Canterbury District Health Board. Her experience and expertise in dentistry will add immense value to an already impressive board of the largest health provider for Pacific families in the Canterbury region.
“I’ve worked in mainstream health for a long time, and I accepted this board position so I could continue to contribute to the health of our Pasifika people,” she says.
Dr Misa aims to improve the oral health for vulnerable communities, especially within Pacific families and encourages more Pacific students to study dentistry as a viable career.
“When I look around at my peers, I’m usually the only brown face in the group. I feel that I represent not only myself, but also my people and it’s a privilege to be in this position.
But it’s so important that there are more of us because our people would prefer to be seen by someone who can understand and communicate with them.
I’m always spreading the message that oral health care is important, and problems are often preventable. It starts from the home and it’s about taking good care of our teeth.”
Dr Misa will join the current board members who include the Chair Dr Nick Giblin (FRNZCGP, PGDipOG), Dr Kiki Maoate (ONZM, FRACS), Dr Apisalome Talemaitoga (FRNZCGP), Father Paulo Filoiali’i (BPhil, MTheo), Papa John Pitomaki and Dr Staverton Kautoke (MBChB) who provide the strategic leadership for Etu Pasifika.
Date: Wednesday 21 April 2021