Pātea Area School has a new principal.

James Davidson is finishing up as the deputy principal at Opunake High School this year before heading south for his new role.

James is excited about the new challenge, which will suit his family well as it means he can be at the same school as his three children, Orlando (11) Miley (9) and Trixie (5).

James' wife Emily is also a teacher and an artist and is also looking forward to the move to Pātea.

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James has been the deputy at Opunake for the last three years, having started up at the school in 2003 where he also spent time as head of the arts faculty as well as a dean.

He says he brings enthusiasm as well as a love for children to the job.

"I guess my motto is building on the past success of Pātea Area School and keeping on their upward trajectory."

The school has been under the leadership of Nicola Ngarewa - who is now head of Spotswood College - and James says Nicola leaves the school in great shape.

Heading the school - which caters for primary and secondary-aged children - will be a new adventure.

He is looking forward to the dynamic of being at an area school, which he says is a great opportunity to look after and foster the community's children during their entire schooling years.

He says he never set out to be a teacher - or a principal for that matter - but having met many inspirational people during his career who have guided and mentored him meant he has always sought new challenges and gone after them.

James is also a published author and cartoonist, but says life may be a bit busy for art over the next few years.

But he intends to soon come back to it.

He took his children down for a visit to the school recently and says although they will miss their friends, they are excited about going to the welcoming school.

"It's just really welcoming and full of aroha, with lots of good souls working and volunteering in the school and they really just love the kids and want the best for the tamariki .

"It has a real whānau feel about it."