One of the oldest schools in the country, Te Aute College, has welcomed its new principal Rachel Kingi (Ngāti Kahungunu).
The Māori boys' boarding school has famous alumni including Sir Āpirana Ngata, Te Rangi Hīroa and Sir Sidney Moko Mead.
Kingi, a former student and head girl of St Joseph's Māori Girls College, was previously the principal at Otane Primary School.
Kingi said her experience, having the support of her friends, whānau and hapū at the ceremony was surreal and said “it was a very special moment and something I will never forget”.
Kingi arrived just after Māori Education Minister Willie Jackson announced a $5 million upgrade grant to the college.
“We are really grateful for the money that Minister Jackson has ensured for us and at Te Aute College it is going to be used to upgrade some critical hostel facilities.”
Kingi said that being a principal at an all-boys school has her drawing on all her experiences to fulfil the role.
Kingi is the mother of three young men and said that it was what drove her to build great men and using that, coupled with the experience gained at Hato Hohepa, “to strengthen my stance here at Te Aute”.
Kingi said that what drove her passion for education was her determination to reverse negative statistics of Māori people.
“I want to create an environment that fosters critical thinking, questioning and self-determined education for our kids.”