"I just dance, make a fool of myself and make them laugh."

Junior Etuale Togia doesn't just dance, he also plays rugby, as a winger when playing rep and a first five-eighth when playing club rugby.

It's all about paths to success. Children can find their personal success in all areas of the curriculum, not just reading or writing. The arts is one path, sports such as rugby are another.

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The new principal at Pembroke School says dance (as part of an arts curriculum), and rugby are just some of the ways he builds connections with his pupils outside of the normal classroom environment.

"I am passionate about the arts, visual and performing," Junior says. Coming from an arts background he enjoys introducing pupils to that part of the curriculum.

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"It's all about paths to success. Children can find their personal success in all areas of the curriculum, not just reading or writing. The arts is one path, sports such as rugby are another."

Junior says during his years of combining his rugby with his teaching career, he has found the two complement each other well.

"There can be a child who isn't that engaged in the classroom environment. For whatever reason, they just aren't enjoying it. But when they then see their teacher out on the rugby pitch, playing, then they see a different side to me and maybe it is the way to get a connection."

Having just moved from Wellington to the Stratford District with his wife Jen and their five children, Junior plans to enjoy rugby from the sidelines this coming season.

"I love watching local rugby, and would never join or follow a team that aren't local. Why would you when you have great rugby right here?"

He says he and the family have loved settling into their new community and are "overwhelmed" by just how welcoming the community is.

"It's been great, getting to know everyone and seeing how tight knit a community we have here. Coming to the school and seeing parents getting involved, weeding the gardens or helping around the school, doing whatever needs doing."

The sense of community was one of the attractions of the job, says Junior, who adds he "fell in love" with the school and community when he first visited for his interview.

"I knew then I really wanted the job. I could see how the school and town were going to be a great for me, Jen and our children. In Wellington, I was teaching at one school, and my children were at another. I started thinking how great it would be to teach at the same school my children went to. Here I can do that, and they are loving the school as much as I am."

Junior says another attraction of the job was having such "great staff" already at the school.

"It very much is a case of building on the good things already here."

The family have bought a house and are settled in to their new home.

"The kids are loving it, we have chickens at our place, which is new for them and they are enjoying checking for eggs each day. The freedom of living rurally is really refreshing and we are all enjoying the change of pace and lifestyle."

Junior says he likes the fact the principal job at Pembroke also allows for him to spend time in the classroom teaching.

"I didn't want a principal role where I would spend all my time behind a desk.

"That's not my style."