A new dental team at Marsden Cove, Ruakākā has drilled into the support of the local business community to help set up shop during a challenging time.
The clinic, which opens on July 11, has organised and helped fund a "support local" giveaway voucher scheme for the One Tree Point, Ruakākā, Bream Bay and Waipū areas.
The scheme was inspired by The Northern Advocate's Go Local! campaign launched on April 29 to promote local success stories, highlight interesting initiatives and provide useful tips in a bid to bolster the region's economy.
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Marsden Cove Dental Clinic team leader and dentist Ngareka Bensemann said it was about "mutual support".
"Because of Covid, and local businesses being closed for so long, I wanted to try to support them as much as possible," she said.
"I also thought it'd be a good way to get our name out there that we're opening too, and to get that shared support."
Bensemann, who has been a dentist for four years, studied health science as part of her bachelor of dental surgery.
She has worked as a dentist in Auckland and for Kamo Dental near Whangārei for the past few years.
It's the first time the women have branched out into business on their own.
"It might seem strange setting up a new business at this time … but long term it's an amazing area to live and work," she said.
"It's almost been a blessing having lockdown; it gave me more time to organise things in the background. We're booked out the first week already.
"The way our region dealt with Covid-19 during the lockdown says a lot about our people as well. How we all stayed home but as soon as we could started to support local businesses and work as a team."
Bensemann said there had been "a lot of engagement from locals" around the voucher scheme.
A total of nine vouchers valued at $25 to $75, plus four of her own dental vouchers were given away via social media in the four weeks to June 15.
Local businesses involved were Two Birds Cafe Ruakākā; Land & Sea Cafe, Bar and Eatery; Frenchy's Kitchen; The Bach Cafe; Goody Goody Deli & Eatery; Little Red Cafe; The Cove Cafe; DCPA Northland Dance & Fitness Studio and Body Conceptz Massage.
Also at the dental clinic is Shereen Mackessack, a hygienist and oral health therapist who has a bachelor of health science in oral health from Auckland University of Technology.
After graduating, Mackessack was employed by the Waikato District Health Board to promote oral health in schools and kōhanga before shifting to Ruakākā and working in Whangārei.
The clinic's dental assistant, Amy Richardson, has worked in a range of customer service roles and lived in the Bream Bay area for 19 years.