Leeann Waaka (Ngāpuhi) is a Clinical Lead / Dental Therapist for Te Whatu Ora Hauora A Toi Bay of Plenty and Tumuaki for Te Ao Mārama. Her passion for her work and the profession is evident in her tireless efforts to elevate the standards of oral health care. In her current capacity as the Dental/Oral Health Therapy Clinical Lead for Te Whatu Ora - Hauora-ā-Toi, Leeann plays a pivotal role in setting and maintaining exceptional standards within her field. Her leadership and guidance foster a culture of excellence, not only within her team but also in the broader context of oral health care.
As Tumuaki of Te Ao Mārama– Aotearoa Māori Dental Association (TAM), Leeann has demonstrated dedication to the improvement of oral health for te iwi Māori and empowerment of the Māori oral health workforce under the kaupapa 'Hei oranga niho mō te iwi Māori' – Good Oral Health for Māori, for life. Through this role, she has also facilitated support and mentorship for Māori students, fostering the growth of the profession. She also represents TAM on influential oral health discussion panels, advisory boards, and interest groups. Leeann is an advocate for equitable oral health care and cultural safety within the profession.
Leeann has also worked as a clinical educator at AUT, where she provided clinical supervision, support to students, and made contributions to the development of the academic programme.