The head of New Zealand's largest secondary school is quitting to take a new job at a private college.

Rangitoto College principal David Hodge will leave his position at the end of the term to become the new head of St Kentigern.

The role is a newly created position after Steve Cole, the outgoing principal of the private east Auckland church school, announced his plan to retire from teaching last year.

Hodge will have oversight of all four St Kentigern schools across three campuses.


The boys' and girls' schools and a preschool are at separate Remuera addresses and the co-educational college with a middle and senior school is on the sprawling Pakuranga grounds bordering the Tamaki Estuary.

Hodge said he was looking forward immensely to the challenge of the newly created role.

"I am honoured and humbled to be given the responsibility to lead St Kentigern in its journey to even greater excellence, and to working with the board in realising their vision for St Kentigern as a world leader in education," he said.

Before leading the top decile, 3000-student Rangitoto College for more than a decade he was principal at bottom decile Tamaki College.

Hodge said he believed his experience had prepared him for the challenges of the unique educational leadership role.

Cole resigned after eight years at the St Kentigern just weeks after two senior pupils had their throats accidentally slit during a school production.

The show was abandoned after opening night when a razor prop wrapped in duct tape sliced the necks of two teenage actors. Both were rushed to hospital for treatment.

The accident is still being investigated by WorkSafe New Zealand.

At the time a spokeswoman said Cole's departure was not related to the students' injuries as he had been considering retirement for some time.