Board of trustees member Reuben Tipoki. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Kuranui College’s new principal has passed from his old school to the new.
The Greytown college welcomed Simon Fuller to the role with a moving powhiri on Friday morning.
He replaces Geoff Shepherd, who joined Kuranui as deputy principal in 1999.
Mr Fuller, 34, said Friday’s welcome was “emotional”.
He comes from Opunake High School in South Taranaki, where he was principal for three years.
Kuranui’s head boy Samson Dell, 17, had prepared a speech to welcome his new principal.
He said students needed someone who could push them to achieve their goals.
“We believe that person is you – no pressure.”
Carterton and South Wairarapa Mayors John Booth and Viv Napier were in attendance, along with principals from surrounding schools.
After kaumatua, board members and Kuranui’s head boy had addressed the full hall, Mr Fuller crossed the floor — from staff and students of Opunake to Kuranui — with rousing haka from both schools behind him.
Mr Fuller comes from the west coast of the South Island.
His first teaching post was as a chemistry teacher in Timaru.
He said he was keen to get stuck in and familiarise himself with the school ethos, its students, staff and the supporting community.
“When you start you have to listen first and understand.”
Mr Fuller would assess the strengths and needs of the school before formulating a strategy to best serve South Wairarapa.
“You’ve got to get to know the community, the students and the parents before you make changes.”
Mr Fuller had a special connection to his new region.
His wife, Laura, and mother-in-law Clare Crawford were former students of Kuranui College.
Mrs Crawford is principal at South End School in Carterton.
“My family have strong links with Greytown and the college and the opportunity for them to return home will be amazing.”
He is a keen outdoorsman, interested in hunting, fishing and tramping.
“When I was living in Opunake I tried to learn to surf.
“I’m still perfecting the art, that’s for sure.”
Mr Fuller will get to work as principal of Kuranui when school resumes in term two.
“I’m passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people, and I’m looking forward to working together with the board, staff and students to promote a positive and exciting environment for the Kuranui community.”