The deputy principal of Wanganui Girls College is retiring after 16 years on the job.
Maartje Morton attended her last school assembly at the end of last year, and says the close of her three-decade teaching career is a bittersweet time for her.
"I enjoy teaching. I'll miss the day-to-day interactions with the girls, most of whom are wonderful. Most of the time they just kept me laughing."
Despite that, Mrs Morton said the time was right to retire.
"I wanted to retire while I'm still in the prime of my life."
In May she plans to spend five months travelling through Europe with her daughter - "and I want to be fit and healthy for that". Her daughter and grandson both live in Wanganui, and Mrs Morton is looking forward to spending more time with them - and in her garden.
"Gardening is my other passion. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in." Originally from Wellington and Levin, Mrs Morton's first teaching job out of teachers college was 33 years ago, at Waiopehu College in Levin.
Since then, she has taught accounting and business at Dargaville High School, Whangarei Boys High School, and Gisborne Girls High School, before landing in Wanganui to take on the deputy principal role at Girls College.
"It's the longest time I've ever stayed anywhere," she said. Having taught in co-ed as well as in girls and boys schools, Mrs Morton is a strong supporter of single sex schools.
"Boys and girls have completely different learning styles. And both of them focus better without the distraction of the other one around."
Mrs Morton said Wanganui Girls' College was a great place work.
She paid particular tribute to current principal Vivianne Murphy.
"The teachers are so dedicated. And because it's a small school, there's an opportunity for the girls to be leaders."
Although she's looking forward to more time to relax, Mrs Morton doesn't rule out taking up some part-time teaching work after her overseas trip.
"It's definitely a possibility," she said with a smile.