Fer­di­nand parked up for a while

The Northland Age - - Local News -

Res­i­dents of Bulls no­ticed that a flower van known as Fer­di­nand had not been do­ing busi­ness as usual at a lo­cal park for a cou­ple of weeks.

The ex­pla­na­tion was that the owner, Rene’e Mudg­way, a New Zealand De­fence Force Re­servist den­tal hy­gien­ist, was tak­ing part in an NZDF den­tal out­reach in Hawke’s Bay.

Sergeant Mudg­way, orig­i­nally from Houhora, was part of a 30-mem­ber NZDF con­tin­gent that worked with the Hawke’s Bay DHB to raise oral health aware­ness in the re­gion by pro­vid­ing ed­u­ca­tion and treat­ment.

Ex­er­cise Wis­dom Tooth also vis­ited schools to teach chil­dren about the im­por­tance of good oral health.

“It was great to con­nect with the com­mu­nity. It was also great to catch up and work with other mem­bers of the NZDF’s health team,” Sergeant Mudg­way said.

En­list­ing in the mil­i­tary had been a leap of faith that led to a re­ward­ing ca­reer, she said.

“Ser­vice life sounded like a good ad­ven­ture, so my 17-yearold self took a chance,” she said.

De­spite hav­ing two older sis­ters in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, she en­listed in the Army in 1998, a few months af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Kaitaia Col­lege.

“I wanted to pave my own path, so I ticked the green box in­stead of the blue,” she said.

Ini­tially she worked as a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions op­er­a­tor, and was de­ployed to Bougainvil­le and East Ti­mor, but in 2004 she be­came a den­tal as­sis­tant and joined the Royal New Zealand Den­tal Corps. Three years later the Army sup­ported her in pur­su­ing a Bach­e­lor’s de­gree in oral health from Otago Uni­ver­sity.

“I’ve had so many amaz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties dur­ing my ca­reer, from de­ploy­ments to a trade change to three years at uni­ver­sity.”

NZDF had also sup­ported her and her hus­band, an RNZAF Re­servist, in flex­i­ble work to bal­ance their busy sched­ules.

PIC­TURE / NZDF

Rene’e Mudg­way, about to get to work in Hawke’s Bay.

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