A dental initiative has allowed 850 low-income people to get free urgent dental care this week.
The Smile New Zealand programme set up by the Dental Association and the Southern Cross Health Trust gives basic dental care for community card holders needing urgent attention.
Project manager Deepa Hughes said professional dental care was out of the reach of many who are struggling to meet their daily needs.
"We would provide them at least one basic care, and what we mean by basic care is simple extractions, simple fillings, or if they need a cleaning or examine radiographs."
She said 56 dentists volunteered their skill and time, while assistants and other staff at the 32 free day-clinics were supported by Southern Cross.
Ms Hughes said the goal for the program was free basic dental care yearly to struggling groups.