One of the country's oldest private schools has for the first time chosen a headmaster from the state schooling sector.
Michael Leach grew up in Manurewa as the son of a truck driver and has spent much of his career teaching at and leading South Auckland high schools.
Yesterday, the 57-year-old was officially welcomed as the new headmaster of King's College at the private school's Otahuhu grounds.
Students from his former school, Botany Downs Secondary College, were bussed in for the welcoming powhiri.
Mr Leach was principal at Botany Downs from 2005 and oversaw the growth of the newly established decile-10 school from 600 students to more than 1800.
Before that, he taught at nearby schools including James Cook High School, Edgewater College, Papakura High School and Tuakau College, before becoming principal of Otara's Tangaroa College.
Tangaroa, a decile-one school, draws its students from one of the poorest communities in New Zealand - a stark contrast to King's, where boarding fees are about $36,000 a year.
Talking to the Herald in his wood-panelled office, Mr Leach, a former Counties Manukau representative rugby flanker, said all schools were grappling with the same developments.
"I always find that no matter where you are, kids genuinely want to do well.
"Education is becoming more personalised ... Finding the right pathway for each kid is almost a necessity now - you no longer teach large groups of kids the same thing.
"I think that, in terms of education, it is a watershed time, with the changes in pedagogy and in using technology."
Mr Leach's wife, Jenny, is principal at Otara's Ferguson Intermediate, and he has two grown daughters.
When previous headmaster Bradley Fenner, an Australian who was at the helm for five years, started at King's, he found an old cane in his office cupboard.
What can today's students expect when they are summoned to see the new headmaster? The early signs are promising.
"There are very few of us who have grown up without making lots of mistakes, so adolescents are always going to do that," Mr Leach said.
"It's about them saying, 'Sir, how do I fix this up?'
"And as soon as a kid is doing that, you know that they are great. There doesn't need to be anything else."
*New headmaster at King's College, a private school founded in 1896.
*Becomes the first King's headmaster who has been chosen directly from the state school sector.
*Mr Leach, 57, grew up in Manurewa as the son of a truck driver and school office worker.
*Ex-principal of Tangaroa and Botany Downs Secondary colleges.