New principal to reshape school
‘‘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