Okaihau College's new principal says a closer relationship with the community will be one of his top priorities.

Thomas Davison was formally welcomed into the role in a ceremony in the school hall attended by students, staff, Okaihau residents, kaumatua and kuia. His wife and children, adoptive parents and birth mother were also present.

Davison, 42, previously worked as the head of social sciences at Tikipunga High School in Whangārei, and has been deputy principal at Okaihau College for the past two years.

When long-serving principal Alan Forgie retired in November last year Davison stepped in as acting principal and applied for the permanent role.


''I'm big on making sure the students get the best outcomes and engaging with the community,'' he said.

''Schools in general aren't very good at sharing, including and communicating with their communities. Creating a more equitable relationship with our community is something I really want to focus on.

''For any kids, but especially here in Tai Tokerau, a sense of belonging is really important.

"If they are settled and have a sense of well-being, academic achievement is much easier.''

Board of Trustees chairwoman Janet Graham said Davison had been chosen for the job because he was enthusiastic, had good ideas and a great rapport with the students.

Born and raised in Auckland, his first teaching job was at Massey High School. He then had 10 years at Trident High School in Whakatane and two years at Tikipunga High before taking a year out to complete a Master's degree in educational leadership.

Okaihau College has 410 students in Years 7 to 13.

Alan Forgie died unexpectedly on January 18, only months after his retirement. A service was held in the Okaihau College hall.