SFTP was formed in late 2012, after a meeting at the NZDA conference between two like-minded dentists, Dr Jonathan Cole and Dr Mahendra Moopna.
They had a vision of creating an overseas aid program which was both sustainable and affective and involved utilizing a permanent site so that it could act as a training and treatment centre.

As well as treating patients, the local dental health professionals will be trained, up skilled and mentored.

Lautoka Dental Hospital, Fiji was chosen as a site for a number of reasons. Primarily, it needed to be in an area, which was easily accessible to an international airport so that overseas dental volunteers, mostly from Auckland, could access the destination easily via Nadi Airport.

The need for improved dental care, is clearly evident in Fiji and the area of Western Fiji is not so well catered for, as around Suva where they have Fiji National University [FNU] and most substantial medical and dental facilities.


The SFTP team

Dr Jonathan Cole

BDS OTAGO 1983 has been a private practitioner in Auckland for over 30 years. He is a past Rotarian and recognizes the need for charitable work such as this. As a past president of the Auckland Dental Association, he has experience in leading a team and so has undertaken to be the project leader of ‘Smiles for the Pacific. ‘ Dr Cole is a life member of the Auckland Dental Association and a member of the International College of Dentists.

Dr Mahendra Moopna

Fiji School Medicine 1978, Diploma Clinical Dentistry , Otago 1983, Bachelor Dental Science Melbourne 1989
A private practitioner in South Auckland and has been a member of the Lions Club for over 20 years. He has been developing a vision for a project such as this for many years and the partnership of these two dentists has meant that the formation of ‘Smiles for the Pacific‘ (SFTP) has finally become a reality.

The SFTP team is completed by the addition of the following group of professionals:


Dr Abdul Aziz

BDS OTAGO 1995,Doc of Clinical Dentistry Otago 2009 is a specialist endodontist in East Auckland and an international speaker on Endodontics, supported by a large international dental company GUNZ. Dr Aziz who is currently on the ADA executive ,has a close connection with Fiji with family there.

Dr Clarence Tam,

Cosmetic dentist. Clarence trained in Toronto, Canada and is a world class speaker both here and internationally.

Dr Brian Whitley

is a Waikato based Oral and Maxillofacial facial surgeon who has been heavily involved in treatment and teaching in Fiji since the inception of SFTP

Dr Yoshi Ediriweera

BDS OTAGO 1983 is a dentist in Central Auckland and past president of the Auckland Dental Association. She brings her vast experience in running a large Accident and Emergency practice to the table.

The team is completed by Mrs Margot Distelzwey [Specialised Diploma Dental Assisting Baden-Wurtemburg Germany ],who as a member of Dr Cole’s dental practice, acts as an expert in the implementation and setting up and running a dental practice with special emphasis on dental equipment and sterilization processes.

So you can see that the group has close to 100 years of collective experience with the dental industry and thus are really placed to run a successful programme in Fiji.


The SFTP committee has been very busy in the past few months. Drs Cole and Moopnar went to Fiji towards the end of last year and met the Minister of Health,Dr Neil Sharma and signed an agreement.
Dr Moopnar had been to Fiji again recently to meet different groups to get the project underway ,especially relating to the refurbishment. He will return there early next month with Dr Aziz,who will do two free lectures both in Suva and Lautoka.
Dr Ediriweera is off to Tonga next month with a colleague Dr Craig Waterhouse to do a weeks volunteer work with some mentoring included.

The most pressing problem at the moment is funds and the SFTP committee is currently busy raising funds.
On 9 May there is a fund raising event cocktail night. This early evening event will be designed to update you all with progress and offer you the opportunity to be involved in whatever basis you may choose. This may take the form of offering to be a volunteer and ,or donation of dental equipment or straight our cash donation.
Any donations will be greatly appreciated. cause. We would be grateful for any donations.
SFTP is a registered charity and all donations are tax deductible. Please ask your friends and colleagues to consider donating to this worthy cause,and we would love to have them on our mailing list.

The SFTP project is envisaged to be sustainable with a review period after 3-5 years

It will run under the auspices of the established “ Newton Wickham Auckland Dental Association Trust” The NWADT account is ASB 12 3030 0649656 00

Thank you for your interest in this project and please contact us for further information .

Dr Jonathan Cole
Project Leader SFTP

Follow Us

Yes sign me up for your newsletter

From Time to Time we like to keep you informed about SFTP Smiles for the Pacific. Feel free to subscribe to our newsletter below.
I agree with the Terms and Conditions
By clicking on "Sign UP" above, and selecting ✓ by terms and conditions, you confirm that you agree with our Terms of Use. We will only use your email to keep you informed about SFTP, its events and projects. Thank you for your patronage. The SFTP Team.