‘This place has real people’
Holy Family School deputy principal Gina Lefaoseu on why she loves her job, her community and what she does to relax.
Porirua’s Holy Family School deputy principal Gina Lefaoseu recently won a SunPix award for leadership in education. The awards are a leading forum to acknowledge Pasifika successes nationwide and Lefaoseu is determined her school will keep succeeding.
What’s the best part of your job?
Teaching the students. They’re just so innocent and real. I’m biased because I’ve been here for the whole time, but the kids are so amazing. They know what’s real, what’s important, their sense of value is amazing and that’s what keeps me here.
What makes this school special?
We have 180 students, 85 per cent Pasifika, 12 per cent Maori and Burmese. I love the fact that we’re so diverse. They bring a real warmth and richness from their cultures and that comes from their families. A lot of our students have the most amazingly supportive families, which is wonderful. I was born here so feel like this is my home.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I didn’t have any idea. Once I was in it [teaching] I realised this was for me, I know how to do this and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else because I would probably find it boring.
If you could have three people to dinner, living or dead, who would they be?
Nelson Mandela because to me - regardless of poverty, regardless of race - he was a person who overcame everything. I still believe as a teacher you have to have high expectations of people despite deciles or backgrounds. The other guests would be one of my grandparents and my dad who has passed away.
What’s your favourite part of Porirua?
Cannons Creek. This is the place I know, this is the place I grew up. People value whats real. This place has real people, real community and values what’s real - not material stuff. Our kids are the most giving kids.
Where can we find you in the weekends?
I’ll be doing nothing in particular. When I go home I’m just sitting there with my family and with my feet up relaxing. The job has long hours and it’s tiring so it’s nice to not do much.
What’s the plan for the school in 2017?
We’ll be developing, evolving, fixing anything that isn’t working. Our vision here is parent and student driven, they’ve created the kind of teacher they want to see.
What do you want for Christmas?
My daughter asked me and I said I just want a minute to just sit there and have a moment. Maybe some sleep - I’d love to have some sleep.
- Interview: Virginia Fallon