Walking around the school, Tara Kanji is greeted by her students at every corner.

"Hi girls, how are you?", she responds.

Kanji moved to Tauranga this year to become principal of the college and already has a fan club.

Talking to the principal one-on-one in her new office it is clear why.


During the interview, Kanji notices this reporter writing shorthand, and she gives praise.

"Brilliant, you just don't see that anymore. That's fantastic," she says.

It seems Kanji enjoys identifying a talent in everyone and encourages them to own it.

"Every day I am amazed at the talent and what comes across my desk in terms of our students," she said.

"These young women go into society and continue to make a difference... developing that is the exciting part for me."

There was a strong sense of identity at the school, which Kanji encouraged.

"However you identify, sporty, Maori, academic. If you can feel there is a niche for you to be able to identify then the results speak for themselves."

Kanji's professional background, which spans 20-plus years, comes from several schools around the Waikato.

She was most recently at a Catholic girls' school in Hamilton - Scared Heart Girls' College, before that she taught in co-ed and boys' schools in Waikato before moving to Tauranga.

So what is it like to be a principal of an all-girls school?

"Every leadership position is filled by a young woman," Kanji said. The principal liked that every girl could feel confident enough to apply for a lead role at the school and not have to compete against the opposite gender.

But at the same time, she does not lose sight of the "real world".

"You're going to come across the other genders," she said.

The combined school production with Tauranga Boys' College allowed an opportunity to collaborate with the opposite gender.

"The fact is that what you're trying to do is push through stereotypes and that is often a stigma associated with women and how women need to perform," Kanji said.

"Here we can say it actually doesn't need to be like that."

To show girl power, the students will hold a pink-shirt mufti day on Friday as part of a nationwide movement to stand up against bullying.

"it is just another example of girls working for girls and empowering themselves," Kanji said.

Kanji said schools were about social good and equipping young people for life beyond school.

Tauranga Girls' College provides students with many academic, cultural, sporting and vocational opportunities within a safe, well-resourced and attractive school environment. Knowledgeable leaders and teachers encourage students to strive for success. Student leadership is fostered across the school. The school is increasing its responsiveness to Māori students and whānau.

Location: Tauranga
Ministry of Education profile number: 122
School type: Secondary (Years 9 to 13)
School roll: 1381
Number of international students: 42
Gender composition: Girls 100 per cent
Ethnic composition: Pākehā 49 per cent, Māori 31 per cent, Other European: 7 per cent, Asian: 5 per cent, Pacific: 4 per cent, Indian: 3 per cent, Other 1 per cent
Date of this report: 23 October 2015


"I came from a Maori house from Tauranga Intermediate and there are a lot of opportunities for the different cultures here at TGC."
Sophie Summerville, 13

"My move from Tauranga Intermediate to TGC was a good transition."
Grace Summerville, 13

"My favourite thing about TGC is it is not just a school, but it is a supportive family where everyone is encouraged to be themselves."
Leah Owen, 17

"TGC offers everyone individually a whole range of academics and different subjects for different job opportunities."
Rebecca Eggersglusz, 15

"My favourite thing about TGC is the sporting opportunities it provides for the athletes here. I love how it has no limits."
Kenza Taele, 14

"My favourite thing about TGC is the creative freedom they give us to fuel our passion."
Skye Lunson-Storey, 17