A giant tooth which has had pride of place on top of Tauranga's Devonport Rd dentist building for almost two decades has been extracted.

"I feel a little lump in my throat," dentist Dr Miles Bowker said as the tooth was pulled from the roof of Strand Dental at 45 The Strand.

Bowker said the building was undergoing earthquake strengthening, which prompted the move.

However, he wasn't moving to the new location on 16th Ave without his iconic 10ft tall tooth.


"The tooth has always been a landmark," he said. "It would be a shame to let him just rot on top of the roof."

The tooth had eyes, a smile with red painted lips and held a toothbrush. Bowker said it would need to be cleaned before being reassembled at the new location.

"My daughter painted it, but she couldn't reach his head, so his head never got painted. He will also need a new set of red lips to look like new," Bowker said.

The dentist used to have fun with the tooth during city events and swap the toothbrush for a saxophone during the Jazz Festival.

Bowker said the tooth almost wriggled from its roots during a storm about five years ago.

"He fell over and banged his head on the roof, and we thought, 'Oh, oh there is going to be water pouring in', but it was just a dent," Bowker said. "It was almost the death of the tooth."

Bowker said he had been at Strand Dental for 11 years after taking over from another dentist who operated a surgery there 11 years prior.

"The tooth has been up there more than 20 years," he said.

The building was tenanted before it was a dentists' premises and had a reputation for being haunted.

"It has got a funny old history," Bowker said. "The room next door seemed to be haunted. You would hear bangs and creaks. Sometimes you did not know if it was someone in the passage or not."

Bowker understood the first floor of the two-storey building on The Strand needed to be stripped and given a new roof, but he did not know the future of the old building.

"That will be for the owners to decide," he said. "It is all up in the air at the moment."