Tears were shed as a popular Foxton school principal stepped down from the role this week.

Ani Skipper has been at Foxton Primary School for 15 years, the last 10 as principal, and was given an emotional farewell ceremony by staff and students in the school hall.

Students performed waiata and haka and said their goodbyes in a video shown on a big screen in the school hall.

While the school and students presented Mrs Skipper with a farewell and gifts, she reciprocated by presenting two trophies to the school crafted by local carver Ivan Ngarotata.

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Mrs Skipper said it was tikanga that she should present them to the school herself on behalf of her family.

"I wanted to present these to the school on behalf of my whānau," she said.

One trophy, Te Koi o te Iwi, will go to a student for academic achievement.

The other trophy, Te Ngākau ō te Iwi, would recognise citizenship for a student shown to be supportive of others.

Mrs Skipper said while she was no longer principal she wouldn't be far away as she would be a relieving teacher for the school, helping with reading and writing and carrying on the kaupapa.

"At the end of the day it's all about the kids," she said.

"It's just a good time to step down. The school is going really well, and the timing was good. You know yourself when you need to move on and let the school have a fresh start."

Mrs Skipper said she was proud of her time at the head of the school and the establishment of two bilingual classes and two rumaki classes - the only school in the area with a rumaki [immersion] unit.

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She said the success of te reo units depended on having good teachers to continue the kaupapa and hard work.

Mātua Tiwana Hibbs would step into the role as acting principal while the school board advertised for her replacement.

Mrs Skipper planned to spend more time with her mokopuna in between relief teaching.