Taranaki Diocesan principal Fiona Green has always loved history, and after being principal at the school for eight years she has created some of her own.

Fiona's last day in Stratford is January 21. She says she has received many nice words and farewells.

Fiona is moving to Christchurch to care for her mother, Myra Last.

"My mum is a feisty 92-year-old but she has been unwell recently. I'm the only close relative who lives in New Zealand and she needs someone to be there for her."


Fiona will be teaching at St Margaret's College this year.

"After this year I will see what I'll do next."

Originally from Dunedin, Fiona's first time visiting the school was in her final year of studying geography at Victoria University.

"I was working on a research paper and I spent time interviewing farmer's wives about how they made an income on the farm. I stayed at Girdwood Hostel which is now the Year 13 hostel."

Fiona says she liked the family feel of the school.

"I also loved the history attached to the school. The chapel, opened in 1956, was built by staff, students and helpers."

While at high school, Fiona enjoyed geography, history, music, drama and sport.

"I had amazing teachers. I still keep in touch with my geography teacher."


Fiona's love of history and geography has since grown, as she has taught social studies at different schools.

"At Taranaki Diocesan I teach social studies and 'Futures', a class which helps Year 13 students prepare for their futures."

Fiona has also taught at different schools around the country.

"I was assistant principal at Timaru Girls and deputy principal at Woodford House in Havelock North."

Fiona says her own experiences at school have shaped her into the person she is today.

"I changed high schools in Year 11, having shifted from Melbourne to Wellington with my family. It was not an easy experience with no pastoral support and I never want the girls here treated like that."

Fiona says it's her goal to make sure all girls are looked after.

"We have international students who travel here so we have support systems in place to deal with homesickness. I want to make sure there are support systems to cater for all of the students' needs."

Fiona has always taught at same-sex education schools and she says she prefers these types of schools.

"Caring for teenagers can be a tricky time. At a same-sex school you can tailor the student's learning to what interests them. This builds engagement with the students."

She says same-sex education can also help students be less concerned about how they look.

"By being in an all girls or all boys school, there is more of a focus on who you are and who you will become. There are a lot of girls' issues that only can be addressed by girls and boys' issues that can be addressed by boys."

One of the issues is gender equality, Fiona says.

"We are wanting to break down the stereotypes. We have girls going into engineering and astro-physics."

Fiona says she has many fond memories from Taranaki Diocesan.

Highlights for her include the centenary in 2014, building of the gymnasium and establishment of the TOPEC Year13 outdoor education course.

"I've enjoyed watching the girls who hadn't had the best start in education grow under the care of the boarding and day staff.

"Watching the girls appreciate the opportunities they're given at this school is wonderful."

During her time as principal, Fiona has seen many changes throughout the school.

She says some of the changes are the school's name change from St Mary's School for Girls to Taranaki Diocesan in 2018 and the new uniform.

"Unfortunately I won't be able to see the girls wearing the new uniform."

She says she is thankful to the team of staff.

"They're fully committed to the values of the school."

She says she will miss everything about Taranaki Diocesan, especially the teachers and staff.

"I'll miss being able to stop and have a chat with a student and feeling like I know them more than just being their teacher."

She says she'll miss the school's events such as swimming sports and house music.

"I'll also miss our special services, St Mary's day, the nativity play and Kapa Haka Roopu. I'll miss the lovely grounds at the school where students can just sit under the trees and relax."

Fiona says knowing there are wonderful staff makes leaving the school easier.

"They are positive and energetic people who can lead the next level of change. The people here are committed to giving their best for the girls."

She says she enjoyed her time at the school and being part of the community.

"I've had the opportunity to be part of the community by being involved with the business association and going to the Saturday morning netball.

"Thank you to the Stratford community for supporting the school."