Tooth and Veil: The Life and Times of the New Zealand Dental Nurse


In 1921, the School Dental Service was established. A social experiment unique to New Zealand, it was lauded around the world and later modelled in 15 countries. This is the story of those on the front line of that experiment, the dental nurses who endured military-style training, poor resourcing and petty discipline, as well as increasingly anachronistic rules around uniform and behaviour. Bringing together interviews with dental nurses from across the decades, Noel O’Hare has created an engaging social history of New Zealand in the twentieth century, through the eyes and voices of young women. The book begins on 29 March 1974, when more than 600 dental nurses from throughout New Zealand marched to Parliament in their uniforms to protest at their low pay. They hadn’t had a pay rise in 21 years.

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O'Hare, Noel