Te Awamutu Courier

Nga¯hinapo¯uri gains Mark Harrop as principal

Wayne Asplin, his mentor, has retired

- Jesse Wood

Former Pa¯terangi School principal Mark Harrop has taken over the reins at Nga¯hinapo¯uri School from long-time principal Wayne Asplin. Te Awamutu-based Mark took over at the start of term 4 in 2021 after three years at Pa¯terangi.

“I wasn’t really looking to move from Pa¯terangi School because we were doing such great work there but Wayne was a very important mentor to me as a principal and I had a lot of respect and time for the work that he was doing at the school,” says Mark.

“When he chose to retire it seemed like a really good opportunit­y, too good of an opportunit­y to miss because of what’s already been happening here at Nga¯hinapo¯uri and what’s to come.

“There’s a big community starting to build here and I wanted to take the opportunit­y to be a part of the next phase of the school and help grow with the community.”

Many will know Mark’s wife Amy who is a teacher at Te Awamutu Primary School and also a published children’s author.

After graduating teacher’s college in 2005, Mark spent his two years teaching registrati­on at Waipa¯ School in Nga¯ruawa¯hia before almost a decade at O¯ haupo¯ School.

His first principal position was at Ngutunui Enviro School before moving onto the role at Pa¯terangi.

With almost two decades of teaching experience, Mark likes what he has seen at Nga¯hinapo¯uri and applauds what the staff have accomplish­ed.

“We’ve got a great team at our school and they’ve been doing wonderful things over the last few years. What I bring is a new perspectiv­e on things. I’m very culture driven, in terms of school culture and values,’ he says.

“I’m very passionate about championin­g what makes your school unique and special, to me that comes back to your vision and your values. That’s where I see my strength as principal, leading through that.”

Mark says he still has a lot to learn about what makes Nga¯hinapo¯uri School special because his first term was in and out of lockdowns.

“Hopefully we get through red traffic light and we can get into the business of bringing families back through the gates. Then I can spend some time getting to know better about where we are and where we’re going to go.”

Wayne had been Nga¯hinapo¯uri’s principal for 27 years and an educator for 41, but he knows he’s left the place in capable hands.

“Change is good. With the way the community is growing so quickly, it won’t be a rural school much longer,” says Wayne.

“I just ask the community to be very patient; with Covid and everything else that’s going on that schools have to deal with.”

Previously the deputy principal at Kihikihi School, Wayne says that when he assumed the role at Nga¯hinapo¯uri, he had always wanted to be in charge of a big town school — once he got to the rural school, that all changed.

“I wanted to be based in Te Awamutu while my children went to school as I didn’t want to impact their education by moving around,” he says.

“It’s a school with great kids, great parents, great community and great teachers.”

Wayne really enjoyed the school camps as well as working with staff and the wider group of Te Awamutu principals.

“Te Awamutu is lucky that all the principals from the college through to the small rural schools work together really well. The Ministry of Education in Hamilton recognises how strong this group is.”

Another highlight for Wayne was being a mentor for the University of Auckland National First Time Principals’ Programme, a Ministry of Education funded programme which ran for over a decade. This is how Wayne met Mark when he was appointed to Ngutunui Enviro School.

Mark says it will be a challenge to fill Wayne’s shoes because he was deeply establishe­d and loved by the community.

“That’s not an easy thing to do, but one that I’m happy to give a crack. Wayne’s an important person to me as a friend and as a long-time mentor in the district.

“To the community; thank you for welcoming me into the school under such odd conditions. It’s only early days and we’re only just getting started but I’m looking forward to being able to be involved with you all.”

 ?? Photos / Supplied ?? New Nga¯ hinapo¯ uri School principal Mark Harrop.
Photos / Supplied New Nga¯ hinapo¯ uri School principal Mark Harrop.
 ?? ?? Former Nga¯ hinapo¯ uri School principal Wayne Asplin.
Former Nga¯ hinapo¯ uri School principal Wayne Asplin.

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