This week Kaitāia welcomed their new principal, Louise Anaru, making her the first female principal at the Northland school in its almost 70-year history. Anaru aims to instil principles of kotahitanga and whanaungatanga at the school, amongst staff, parents and the student body.
“We do need a shared vision,” says Anaru, as she describes her first course of action as a leader at the Northland school that has a roll of 900 students, with 70% Māori.
Anaru was previously the principal at Flaxmere College for 10 years, where she received the Supreme Award at the Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards in Wellington.
She was instrumental in raising NCEA levels close to 90 per cent and attendance levels up to around 85 per cent, from 50 per cent in 2009.
“I personally would like to see all of our rangatahi receiving success as Māori and going on to achieve their very highest aspirations," she says.
Current Flaxmere College principal, Jim-Hay Mackenzie, says Anaru's influence reaches far beyond her tenure.
“Louise's motto was 'success is the only option' and for our school that was in everything that we did.
“There were huge changes she put in place but they were also sustained changes, which meant if she left, which she has, we can actually continue with her ideas.”