Vivianne Murphy is handing over the keys to Wanganui Girls' College after 10 years as principal.

And she knows she is putting them in safe hands because her replacement is Tania King - her deputy for the past 10 years.

"I'm looking forward to going home - although I'll miss the great students and staff here," Mrs Murphy said.

"It has been very satisfying to enjoy the successes of Wanganui girls during my time here, especially the NCEA achievement levels."

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Mrs King is looking forward to taking over as principal and acknowledged that she had had very good mentoring and support from her predecessor. "We have great school spirit and a very tight senior team," she said.

Mrs Murphy will take away a lot of happy memories, including being "pranked" by departing students. "They would bring their cars and park them in the staff parks on their last day ... I should have done something like that today."

Mrs Murphy is returning to Wellington to work at the Ministry of Defence.