Colleen Dalley is a woman who has worked and studied in many fields of learning.

She was a teacher at St Matthew's in Marton and at the old St Anthony's in Gonville Wanganui.

In the midst of her teaching she swung around and decided to study nursing and when qualified she served in the NZ Nursing Corp.

"I loved to learn and I loved to serve.''

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Though she loved general nursing she left to do a stint at Lake Alice Hospital - "not as psychiatric nurse, though I was always a public service sort of nurse".

Ms Dalley, a quiet, considered person, said taking charge of Hunterville School until the end of July is something she will enjoy doing until she returns to the classroom again.

And lined for up in the new year is a major theatrical show - which Hunterville School is renowned for in the Rangitikei.

"We stage a great musical every two years.''

This year is The Lion King, with auditions underway this month, she said.

"Everyone in the school - students and teachers - will be involved.''

Even former principal Stephen Lewis, who resigned to take up his new position as the "lead adviser communities of learning" working for the Ministry of Education, calls in on his way home.

"He lives nearby and calls in at least twice a week to see how we all are.''

 Colleen Dalley
Colleen Dalley

Over the years, as well as being a stalwart supporter of all the school's varied sports teams, Mr Lewis has been right behind all the cultural activities - especially the school musicals.

He has said Hunterville School might be miles from Broadway but it has staged some wonderful productions, including Alice in Wonderland with a cast of hundreds and The Wizard of Oz.

The last show, the sellout The Wizard of Oz, was directed by Hawkes director Wendy Revell, who has said the young Hunterville actors were great kids making great shows.

The Lion King story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa and was influenced by William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

It tells the story of Simba, a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands; but after Simba's uncle Scar (Mufasa's jealous younger brother), murders Mufasa, Simba is manipulated into thinking he was responsible and flees into exile.

"It will be a very exciting show for our children to do.''

Though her start to the year is very busy, Ms Dalley said it has challenges which she is enjoying.

A new principal has not been named yet, she said. "But I am very happy to be in charge until we have a new head.''