Kaitaia College principal Jack Saxon has resigned, effective from the start of the next school term.
He, his wife Kirsty and children Ruby, Xavier and Lilian are bound for Methven, where he has been appointed principal at Mt Hutt College.
Mr Saxon said the decision to leave Kaitaia had been "incredibly difficult," and there was "significant guilt' that he was letting the community down, it was time to return to whānau in the South.
Since the death of his predecessor at Kaitaia, William Tailby, last year, the loss of connection with his whānau had weighed increasingly heavy, while the loss of his grandmother late last year and his grandfather early this year had reinforced how finite life is, and how important it was to surround his children with those closest to them.
"Adding further weight to this decision have been the increasing demands of the mahi in Te Hiku, and the impact this has had on my ability to play an active role with my children," Mr Saxon said.
"The last five years have been full to the brim with some of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding moments of our lives," he added. "We have developed friendships that will be with us forever and a connection to Te Hiku, and more widely speaking Tai Tokerau, that neither time nor distance will impact. Both Kirsty and I are thankful for the many friends we have made in the North, with many we now consider treasured members of our extended whānau. We have been privileged to work with passionate teams, both within Kaitaia College and Kaitaia Intermediate School.
"He hono tangata e kore e motu; ka pa he taura waka e motu. Arohanui whānau."