The Japanese girl attacked by four dogs at a Murupara home was due to fly home with her family to Japan tomorrow.
Pem Bird, principal of Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau, told the Rotorua Daily Post the 7-year-old and her parents were in the process of gaining permanent residency and had bought property in the town because they fell in love with "what they saw".
She was attacked as her family farewelled friends, he said.
"They bought a home here, they liked [Murupara] obviously," Mr Bird said.
"She settled in amazingly well that first minute. Language is no barrier, kids connect in other ways like play, singing, doing everything kids do. She was picking up Maori very quickly, it's pretty similar [to Japanese] in terms of pronounciation."
He said she had only been a student for one month but had made an impact on the school community. Mr Bird said they had expected her to re-enrol at the school for the 2015 year once the family had returned to Murupara to live.
"We get a lot of Japanese people coming through here to fish. Her parents were working, they were entrepreneurial."
The girl had been playing in the yard of a property owned by friends of the family when she was attacked by four dogs belonging to the property owner yesterday afternoon.
Police have now said the dogs that attacked the young girl were Staffordshire bull terrier crosses, not bull mastiff type dogs as they previously reported.
Mr Bird said the girl and her family had been visiting to say their goodbyes.
"These were family pets under control at their home, They were saying farewell, having something to eat and something has happened."
She was airlifted to Rotorua Hospital before being transferred to Middlemore Hospital, where she remains in a critical condition today.
The girl suffered life-threatening facial injuries in the attack, and was taken to Murupara Medical Centre.
Bay of Plenty police communications spokeswoman Kim Perks said police were informed of the attack after 2pm. All four dogs were put down by a vet, and a police investigation was under way.