National | Mangakahia Area School

Northland kura welcomes first wahine Māori principal in school's 115-year history

Photo / Ngāti Hine FM

A Northland kura with a predominantly Māori roll has for the first time in its 115-year history appointed a wahine Māori principal.

This week, Mangakahia Area School students and whānau welcomed their new principal Maria Dunn (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa) heralding a new direction for the kura.

"It is a privilege to have been selected to serve the Mangakahia community. Each time I have returned to the kura it has felt right, the whenua, identity and the tauira.

"I want to bring back the heart and soul. The matauranga Māori is missing and I want to bring that back.”

Dunn comes straight from the role of deputy principal at Kamo High School.

Before this, she was deputy principal at Hamilton Girls High School - where she helped oversee 1700 students and led many key initiatives in raising student achievement - and assistant principal at Fairfield College.

Dunn is a qualified nurse and has served as part of the New Zealand Airforce. She is currently completing her PHD.

Mangakahia Area School has 85 tamariki and has been governed by a commissioner since 2019.