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The New Zealand Dental Services

1. New Zealand

1. New Zealand

Just as there were three military districts in New Zealand, there were three naval ones, although the boundaries were not the same. The dividing lines ran east and west, one at Gisborne and one at Westport. The central district therefore included the lower part of the North Island and the upper part of the South Island. Each district received the name of a ship, the Northern being HMNZS Philomel, the Central HMNZS Cook, and the Southern HMNZS Tasman.

Philomel was situated at the naval base in Auckland and was responsible for the treatment of all naval personnel in the Auckland page 77 area, with the exception of those under training at HMNZS Tamaki on Motuihi Island, where there was a separate dental section. Cook was at Shelly Bay, on the shores of the Wellington harbour, and had a similar responsibility in the central district to that of Philomel. In addition, the Wellington Dental Section provided treatment for those at Navy Headquarters. Tasman was at Lyttelton. There were not enough in this district to support a dental section, so treatment was carried out by either Army or Air Force dental sections or by borrowing from them for a time. Several attempts were made to have a dental section permanently attached to Tasman on the grounds that too much time was wasted in travelling to and from the Army and Air Force sections, but the numbers were too small to warrant it.

This was the nearest that the Navy came to being serviced by a comprehensive Corps dental service. Men at the Base, from minesweepers and motor launches, and at times from visiting units of the British Pacific Fleet, were accepted at any dental section, Navy, Army or Air Force. Ships in any port, as well as scattered radar posts, were always within reasonable distance of dental attention.