Century-old Rotorua Boys High School appoints first female deputy principal

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Rie Morris has made history at Raukura [Rotorua Boys High School] after being appointed f deputy principal. Morris, of Tainui & Te Arawa descent, was one of 11 applicants. 

This is the first time a woman has been given the prestigious role within the kura, one that Rotorua Boys High School headmaster Chris Grinter thinks is tremendously exciting.

He says, "Obviously Whaea Rie is a highly talented teacher and is going to bring in this next level of leadership, a significant pūtea of knowledge, skills and abilities, which I think will help our school."

With Rie the first Māori wahine to be deputy principal of Raukura, the trend for wāhine changing the status quo continues, much like Kamala Harris of the United States breaking first-time accolades in the White House and Nanaia Mahuta's appointment of Foreign Affairs Minister in the new government in Aotearoa as well. Grinter acknowledges this.

"We can definitely see that on a national and global scale but, when it really boils down to it, Whaea Rie is just a really wonderful teacher, highly qualified, appropriately experienced, and highly suitable for this role.

High-achievement school

"The fact that she is female and Māori, those are just added benefits. She was worthy of this regardless of those factors." 

Raukura is a school with a high achievement rate across all three NCEA levels, rating 77% at level 1, a high 91% at level 2, and 76% at level 3, in which Rie has been part of the numbers as she was head of faculty - Māori.

Grinter says in recent years, Morris has been prominent, "so we want to become a model of good practice for high achievement from young Māori men. This appointment is a strategic one to support that goal of ours."

Board of Trustees chair Herby Ngawhika believes that the appointment of Morris as deputy principal is extremely significant. He echoes what Grinter, saying that it is exciting too. "As a school, we're always striving to do things better, looking for improvements, and looking for excellence. This is one of the things that will help us in that direction."

"We're very excited and I'm sure she is going to do very, very well."