Incoming Kaitaia College principal Louise Anaru is excited about many aspects of returning home to Te Tai Tokerau.
There's the opportunity to serve the school, its students and the wider community, fond childhood memories, and creating more special moments for her own four children.
Anaru, who is leaving Flaxmere College in Hastings to take up the Kaitaia College role on January 27, also has a strong whānau connection to the region.
She takes over from Jack Saxon who resigned at the end of term three last year after four years at the helm.
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"It was a difficult decision for my whānau to leave Flaxmere College," Anaru said.
"However, we have decided to move back home to the Far North and believe this will be positive for our children to learn more about where they come from. It is also a great opportunity to serve Kaitaia College and our wider community."
Anaru - who hails from Motuti in the Hokianga (Te Rarawa) and Awarua near Kaikohe (Ngāpuhi) - said Kaitaia was "an amazing community".
Her husband Matua Tangira, 14-year-old son Matua Junior and daughters 8-year-old Keita and twins, Tia and Maia, 6, are also looking forward to the move.
"My son was born in Coopers Beach and still has many fond memories of his childhood. We would also like to create these special memories for our daughters including pepeha trails.
"We are looking forward to reconnecting with our friends, cousins, aunties and uncles living in the area.
"It certainly feels like we are coming home, and it will be such an honour and a privilege to serve the community that I hail from."
There has been a dramatic turnaround in academic achievements at Flaxmere College under Anaru's leadership.
When she joined the school in 2010 attendance levels were poor, only a third of students were achieving NCEA level 1 and 2 and just 8 per cent were achieving level 3.
NCEA levels are now close to 90 per cent and attendance levels have significantly increased.
The school received the supreme award at the Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards in Wellington last year in recognition of accelerating Māori student progress through work with whānau and community.
In 2013 Anaru was given a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award along with prominent Kaitaia-based GP Dr Lance O'Sullivan.
She also helped establish Flaxmere College's Teen Parent Unit and Services Academy.
Though she won't disclose specific plans for Kaitaia College she said programmes need to be "fit for purpose".
"Kaitaia College has many successes to celebrate as a school. I look forward to working with the whole school community, to build on the existing strengths together for our young people to achieve their very highest aspirations."
Saxon is also returning home to be closer to whānau, though his are located in the south.
He and his wife Kirsty and children Ruby, Xavier and Lilian are bound for Methven where he has been appointed principal at Mt Hutt College.