John is responsible for the integration of Hauora Māori/oranga niho in the curriculum of the undergraduate Bachelor of Dental Surgery and the Bachelor of Oral Health. John is also the director of the Ngai Tahu Maori Research Unit within the Centre for Hauora Māori. The Unit was established in 1996 as a partnership between Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu and the Dunedin School of Medicine.
John has published widely on oranga niho. His PhD thesis topic was ‘Oranga niho: A review of Māori oral health service provision utilizing a kaupapa Māori methodology’. The thesis was originally submitted for the Master of Community Dentistry but on the recommendation of the examiners it was awarded the higher degree of a PhD. John has also published numerous papers and books on a number of aspects of hauora Māori including hauora rangatahi; hauora wahine; Kai paipa and Maori and Injury Prevention.
John established Te Whare Kaitiaki, a Māori oral health clinic for whanau within the Faculty of Dentistry in 1990, so it is now in its 23rd year of operation. One of his current responsibilities is the coordinator for the Faculty of Dentistry final year dental student clinical placement with Māori oral health providers throughout the motu.