Rotorua Girls' High School's newest principal is looking forward to connecting with the community and working with mana whenua.

Sarah Davis started as principal this week and said returning to Rotorua was like "returning home".

She was born in Rotorua and lived here until about age 8 before moving to Whakatāne.

Davis was deputy principal of Girls' High for two years from 2000; her first senior management role.

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"I'm looking forward to being back in Rotorua community and back in the school I'm familiar with.

"I'm also looking forward to the possibilities that come with living in Rotorua. The town seems to be on the move."

Davis, who started teaching in the 1990s, said her focus in the coming months was on establishing connections.

"I'll be getting to know the community and community leaders, hearing what people have to say, having lots of conversations and talking about what people in the community would like in the school and responding to the needs we have around us.

"I don't have any doubts there's a lot of work to do but people are here to help."

Davis comes from more than seven years as principal at Timaru Girls' High School preceded by more than six years as deputy principal at Tauranga Girls' College.

She said being in management at all girls' state schools hadn't been planned but she enjoyed it.

"The top science student is a girl, the top athlete is a girl, there's no barrier in terms of opportunities to grow and learn.

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"I like the fact we are a special character school that can support any student of any ability and level to do the best they can as young women," she said.

"I love the bicultural aspect of the school, it's something I grew up around and I'm looking forward to working alongside the mana whenua."

Davis was also looking forward to marking the school's 60th reunion.

"We'll pay respect to the past in order to go forward.

"We're bringing people together to think about the next part of the journey of our school."

Davis will be formally welcomed to the school with a pōhiri on January 29.