Holy Family School losing principal
Karl Vasau is moving home, but his heart is likely to remain in Porirua for some time.
The principal of Holy Family School finishes on July 4 after eight years in the job.
He will head to Rowandale School in south Auckland, whose roll of 481 – projected to grow to 550 – dwarfs Holy Family’s 190 pupils.
‘‘I’m sad to be leaving here,’’ he said.
‘‘Porirua has become my home and I love this community. But I’m excited about the challenge at Rowandale, where I can use the skills I’ve developed here on a much larger scale.’’
Vasau has yo- yoed between Auckland and the Wellington region during his teaching career, taking in schools in Grey Lynn, Ascot Park ( Rangikura, for 18 months) and Naenae.
Porirua East community leaders Caroline Mareko and Peter Setefano encouraged Vasau to go for the vacant Holy Family principal’s position.
He can’t believe how quickly the time has gone.
‘‘I didn’t think I would last this long. I thought I’d do it for five years and next thing you know it’s 2014.
‘‘I’m truly grateful and humble towards the people who had faith in me and the staff and the Holy Family community I’ve worked with.’’
He said there had always been a passion within the school com- munity, and eastern Porirua in general, about getting education right despite funding and other issues.
Being close to the Beehive and having hardworking MPs like Kris Faafoi and Winnie Laban were an advantage, he said, open- ing his eyes to the inner workings of the Ministry of Education.
Rolls were declining at schools in Porirua, with migration to Australia and uncertainty over state housing creating headaches for principals, Vasau said.
Porirua East Group, comprising principals, and the recently established Shine education initiative showed that educators were making positive moves, he said.
‘‘With the Porirua East Group, we are sharing more data, meeting more and collaborating on things like sport and cultural events.
‘‘There’s a closeness here that I will miss. Every school treats each child as their own.
‘‘ We, as educators and academics, always need to remember to include the voice of the community when we make decisions. That’s so important.’’
The saddest thing in the past fortnight, he said, was when one of his pupils came up to him in a quiet moment.
‘‘He said, ‘Why are you leaving?’ I gave an answer, but he didn’t understand. It almost broke my heart.
‘‘I haven’t got too emotional yet, because July 4 is a little way away, but it’s been beautiful to hear from people that I have done a good job.
‘‘However, no-one is irreplaceable and it’s time for the next stage of my career.’’
Goodbye: From left, Holy Family School pupils PJ Ierome, Sabrina Brown, principal Karl Vasau and Caitlin Lafaele in Vasau’s office, which he leaves for the last time next month.