New prin­ci­pal to re­shape school

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Taihape - SAM KILMISTER

‘‘Schools play a big part in small com­mu­ni­ties and we serve as a meet­ing place. There's a bunch of prag­matic farm­ers up here so we all work well as a com­mu­nity.’’

Pukeokahu School has a new prin­ci­pal and they cel­e­brated her first term in the role with an un­con­ven­tional pet day.

The ru­ral school, lo­cated on the Napier-Tai­hape Rd, about 30 min­utes from Tai­hape, boasts only 10 stu­dents, but is the life of the com­mu­nity, prin­ci­pal Jan Casey said.

‘‘It’s a re­ally unique lit­tle ru­ral school,’’ Casey said.

‘‘Schools play a big part in small com­mu­ni­ties and we serve as a meet­ing place. There’s a bunch of prag­matic farm­ers up here so we all work well as a com­mu­nity.’’

Casey said her fo­cus was to in­crease the lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy abil­ity of stu­dents, af­ter the last re­view by the Ed­u­ca­tion Re­view Of­fice ‘‘left a bit to be de­sired’’.

‘‘I’ll be draw­ing on my years of ex­pe­ri­ence to pull the lit­er­acy and maths lev­els up. I’ve yet to sit down and come up with a suit­able plan, but that’s at the top of the to-do-list.’’

Casey said she lived 20 kilo­me­tres out of Feild­ing and trav­elled back dur­ing week­ends. De­spite the dis­tance, the lo­ca­tion was a big at­trac­tion for her.

She said the school was one of the best lo­cated in New Zealand - over­look­ing Mt Ao­rangi and Pukeokahu Hill.

‘‘You wouldn’t be­lieve the view the school has. I cer­tainly want to get the stu­dents out and use our lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment as an ed­u­ca­tional tool.

‘‘It’s unique to our area, we’ve got ad­ven­ture tourism down the road and River Val­ley Lodge, Mt Ao­rangi has got kiwi on it and a lot of lo­cals run stoat lines.’’

Casey said the com­mu­nity en­joyed the school’s pet day last week.

‘‘It looked a bit like Old McDon­ald’s farm. We had a horse, a pig and all sorts. We played games and raced against the par­ents - it was a chance to get the chil­dren out of the class­room and have some fun.’’

They fin­ished up by hav­ing a bar­be­cue and an old-fash­ioned egg and spoon race.

Pukeokahu School is also hav­ing a horse trek on March 5. The an­nual trek will be the school’s 16th and is based at Otu­pae Sta­tion for the first time in 10 years. Two vol­un­teers have been re­warded through the Ruapehu Cit­i­zen Awards for their tire­less work in the district.

The awards recog­nised Peter Pan­ton and Ber­nice Frost for their out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion over a ex­tended pe­riod of time.

Pan­ton and Frost have been ac­tive vol­un­teers for many years across a range of or­gan­i­sa­tions and com­mu­nity groups.

Frost re­ceived the Waimarino-Waiouru Award for her long ser­vice to the Waimarino A & P As­so­ci­a­tion, Raetihi Pro­mo­tions Char­i­ta­ble Trust, Waimarino Art Awards, Waimarino Dres­sage Group and the For­est and Bird So­ci­ety.

Pan­ton was recog­nised for his com­mit­ment and work with the Tau­marunui Tramp­ing Club, Mat­a­puna Scout Group, Te Peka Re­serve Land Care Group, and more.

Pippa Melville, Bay­den Moyes and Keeva Har­ri­son dur­ing a sack race. Jan Casey, Pukeokahu School prin­ci­pal

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