New heads ride into town
Two Levin schools start the year with new principals. Reporter Kelvin Teixeira catches up with the new heads.
Levin East School's new principal Hamish Ruawai is as at home on the seat of his Harley Davidson motorbike as he is on his office chair at school.
"I've been a passionate Harley rider since 1998 and the kids always think it's neat when the principal rolls up on one," he said.
Mr Ruawai spent three years as principal at Kaikohe West School near the Bay of Islands, before returning to Manawatu at the end of last year, where he had been principal at Linton Army Camp School for nine years.
He started out as a "beginner teacher" at Levin Intermediate in 1992 and said he taught some of the parents of Levin East's current pupils.
"It's quite amazing, even if it does make me feel a bit old," he said. Mr Ruawai also remembers his rugby playing days with the Wanderers club, as well as "not many games" for the Horowhenua-Kapiti representative team in 1992 and 1996.
Now living at Foxton Beach, Mr Ruawai is married to Sarah, also a teacher, and they have three sons, aged 8, 11 and 14.
He admits he has "big shoes to fill" following the successful work of former principal Pauline May, and Garry Good before her.
"I've inherited a wonderful school with committed staff, involved parents and friendly kids who are keen to come to school," he said.
Moira Howard-Campbell of Levin North School is as passionate about music and sustainable living as she is about education.
She plays the electric- acoustic bass guitar and sings in The Legal Tender Band along with her husband Ian. The couple also live "off the grid" in a fully self-sufficient, wind and solar-powered home just out of Waikanae.
Mrs Howard Campbell comes to Levin North School after three years as principal at Birchville School in Upper Hutt. Travelling the Akatarawa Hill Rd every weekday to get there and back is a drive she will not miss, she said.
Prior to that, between 2005 and 2009, she was deputy principal at Waikanae School, as well as the internet communications technology (ICT) facilitator at 15 schools throughout Kapiti.
During her 33-year career in education she has taught students ranging from new entrants to adults, the latter including lecturing in teacher education at Victoria University. "As teachers, the children are at the heart of everything we do and school should help the quality of their world," she said.
"We need to engage them in learning, so nothing is forced, and that really is our job as educators."