Get to know Tania McNamara, the Foundation Principal of Te Kura Whakatipu O Kawarau School. We recently sat down with Tania to discuss her passion for education and the Hanley’s Farm community.

Is there a story behind how you became Principal at Te Kura Whakatipu O Kawarau?

“I was the Principal of a school in Milton (a small town near Dunedin). However, the dream had always been to be a Foundation Principal, so when the advertisement for Te Kura Whakatipu O Kawarau came up, I leapt at the chance to help start a school from the ground up.”

What does the average day as a Principal look like?

“Every day is so different! My days usually consist of managing and leading the school. I spend a lot of time supporting teachers and connecting with the community by speaking with the families of our students and organising community days.”

Can you share some key milestones or achievements your school has accomplished over the years?

“We’ve achieved so much in our short time as a school. We opened on the 8th of February 2022, during the end of COVID. Our build happened during lockdowns, so the fact we managed to open on time is something I’m very proud of. We started with 93 learners, and now just two and a half years later, we have an amazing 350 learners. I believe that this is partly due to our wonderful teaching staff and focus on building a happy place for children to learn.”

Can you share with us any significant challenges in running the school?

“Being a brand new school, there have been challenges starting from scratch, but I love the freedom it has given us to create the best possible curriculum for our students. Our school has been growing very rapidly; we welcome about 30 new learners every semester, so meeting the needs of all our students and providing adequate resources for them is very important to us.”

Do you have any plans for the future of the school that you can share with us?

“Oh yes, this is really just the beginning. We are hoping to start stage 2 of the school midyear, which will mean another 12 new classrooms, then in the next few years, we will have stage 3 as well. I’m looking forward to growing our little school, helping more learners. The future looks very bright for Te Kura Whakatipu O Kawarau.”

What’s your favourite thing about being part of the Hanley’s Farm community?

“Seeing the kids we teach and seeing what a difference this school brings to them and how much joy the students and their families get from the school and learning!”

Before you go, is there anything else you’d like us to share?

“I’d like to give a big shout out to RCL; they have been a huge supporter of our little school from day one. They have offered us a sizable donation which has gone towards our basketball courts, AV equipment, and defibrillator. We are very grateful for their support!”