My elective experience – Ruby Richardson

For my dental elective placement I was working for Te Manu Toroa in Tauranga. A dental elective is slightly different to other professional programmes, as in dentistry we see and treat patients at the dental school. This means that the elective isn’t so much for us to see how to treat patients, but to broaden our community and cultural experiences.


Te Manu Toroa is a Kaupapa service that uses the The Whare Tata Whā  model of healthcare and keeps the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi central to all services. As a Kaupapa service, Te Manu Toroa combines clinical, cultural and community support, embracing the Māori view of wellbeing.

The treatment that I provided was completely on children and adolescents from full Māori  immersion schools.

My elective placement was an incredible opportunity to become a part of the Tauranga community. Here, I went to community events such as Katikati Whanau Day and visited families from all around Tauranga with Te Manu Toroa.


The MAS dental elective scholarship allowed me to get the most that I could from my elective. Tasha and I had the freedom to travel around the Bay of Plenty region and visit dental clinics that we may work for in the future. This included visiting Whakatane, Te Puke and Pikowai.

The Bay of Plenty is absolutely beatiful and we were able to see all of this because of the MAS scholarship. I also had the freedom to fly down to Wellington for the Dental Employment Fair. Here, I was able to meet potential employers as I approach entering the workforce.

I am so grateful to MAS for enabling me to gain as much as I could from my dental elective. I have learnt so much and have loved living in Tauranga.

MAS Dental Elective Scholarship Recipient

Ruby Richardson

Ruby Richardson is in her 5th year of a Bachelor of Dental Surgery at Otago University. Ruby is one of our first recipient of the MAS Elective Scholarship – Dental and has a passion for Paediatric Dentistry.

For Ruby, the dental elective allows students to become a part of a new community and experience a greater range of dentistry to help them become mature and independent in their practice.

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