28 May Christchurch Woman Supports NZDF’s Dental Outreach in Samoa
29 May 2019
Providing dental treatment in Southwest
Pacific countries is part of the dream job that Lieutenant
Amanda Rowe envisioned she would be doing when she enlisted
in the New Zealand Army two years ago.
“Many of the
people we treated had been in pain for years,” said
Lieutenant Rowe, who was part of a 13-member New Zealand
Defence Force (NZDF) contingent that provided dental
treatment in Samoa recently. The NZDF contingent, in
collaboration with Samoa’s Ministry of Health, provided
dental care and treatment through a clinic at Poutasi
village on the southeast coast of the main island
“Some of them travelled for hours to get to our
clinic, so it felt rewarding to help them and relieve them
of their pain.”
She was one of four NZDF dentists who
treated 420 patients during Exercise Tropic Twilight, as the
dental programme is called.
“The entire team was eager
to help people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access
oral health care,” she said.
A graduate of the
University of Otago, Lieutenant Rowe worked for two years as
a dental surgeon at Wellington Hospital before enlisting in
the New Zealand Army in 2017.
“I was encouraged by my
father, who served in the Corps of Royal New Zealand
Engineers as a Reservist for 13 years, and my elder brother
Jonathan, who’s an officer in the Royal New Zealand
Navy,” she said.
“They thought it would be good for me
to pursue a career in the NZDF, given my training in dental
While growing up in Christchurch, Lieutenant
Rowe joined her father and brother in attending the Anzac
Day dawn service every year.
“Attending those dawn
services with our father taught me and my brother the
importance of honouring all those who have served,
especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” she
When she is not deployed overseas, Lieutenant Rowe
works at the Defence Dental Centres in Wellington and
Waiouru Military Camp, where up to 500 officer cadets and
recruits are training at any one time.
“I am the only
dentist at Waiouru, so it can be pretty hectic at times. I
love the challenge though,” she said.
The NZDF has
conducted similar dental treatment programmes recently in
Hawke’s Bay, Bay of Plenty, Kaitaia, Vanuatu and Samoa.
Lieutenant Rowe took part in the programme in Vanuatu last