Fa­mil­iar face re­turns to Tuahiwi School


‘‘Mel im­pressed the board with...her pas­sion for ed­u­ca­tion.’’

Tuahiwi School is about to get a new face at the helm in the form of newly-ap­pointed prin­ci­pal Me­lanie Taite-Pi­tama (Nga¯i Te Rangi).

Taite-Pi­tama will take over the role at the end of Jan­uary, at which time the school com­mu­nity will farewell Whaea Sue Ross who has been com­mit­ted to the school for al­most three decades.

Te Kura o Tuahiwi Board of Trustees chair­man Russ Cald­well said Taite-Pi­tama would bring to the role 20 years of class­room, ad­min­is­tra­tive and man­age­ment ex­pe­ri­ence in both Ma¯ori and English medium ed­u­ca­tion.

She joins the com­mu­nity of Tuahiwi from the Haeata Com­mu­nity Cam­pus in Aranui where she has worked for the past two years on in­tro­duc­ing a new model of ed­u­ca­tion and is cur­rently the di­rec­tor of learn­ing.

Cald­well said Taite-Pi­tama was widely known and re­spected in the Tuahiwi com­mu­nity.

‘‘Mel grew up here. She pre­vi­ously taught at Tuahiwi School for a pe­riod of eight years,’’ he said.

‘‘In her role as deputy prin­ci­pal she was in­stru­men­tal in lead­ing the es­tab­lish­ment and de­vel­op­ment of four bilin­gual classes. Mel’s three chil­dren are past pupils of Te Kura o Tuahiwi, while her part­ner is Mathias Pi­tama and five gen­er­a­tions of his whanau have at­tended the school.’’

Taite-Pi­tama has a grad­u­ate diploma of bilin­gual and im­mer­sion teach­ing, a bach­e­lor of teach­ing and learn­ing, a diploma of teach­ing, and a diploma in pı¯naki­tanga, as well as serv­ing as a coun­cil mem­ber at ARA In­sti­tute of Can­ter­bury and co-di­rec­tor of the Tuahiwi Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mit­tee.

Cald­well said the board took into ac­count whanau as­pi­ra­tions, and worked closely with a spe­cial­ist search and lead­er­ship assess­ment con­sul­tant, and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Te Nga¯i Tu¯a¯huriri Ru¯ nanga, to de­ter­mine the short­list.

‘‘Mel im­pressed the board with her con­sid­er­able ex­pe­ri­ence, re­sults achieved in lead­er­ship roles, per­sonal and pro­fes­sional growth since leav­ing Tuahiwi and her pas­sion for ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘She pos­sesses an in-depth ap­pre­ci­a­tion of ‘tuahiwi ki te whai ao’, and an in­no­va­tive ap­proach to both Ma¯ ori and English medium ed­u­ca­tion. This, along with her abil­ity to think strate­gi­cally and cre­atively about the fu­ture growth and de­vel­op­ment of Tuahiwi while still be­ing re­spect­ful of our school’s unique tra­di­tions, gives the board great con­fi­dence for the fu­ture.’’


Tuahiwi School will wel­come new prin­ci­pal Me­lanie Taite-Pi­tama at the start of next year.

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