Saturday, 9 November 2013

Caroline Puketapu: TKAS Journey... through the eyes of administration

Karyn's Introduction: You've heard the saying...Behind every successful man there's a good woman? Well my new saying is behind every successful Prinicpal and school there is an amazing administrator. A person who keeps everything going and takes away the distractions so the educators can focus on educating. Caroline is that person for us at TKAS. Read about our journey from her perspective. 

TKAS Journey as seen through the eyes of administration – part one.

Wow!! What a journey! And more to come!  I started this journey with the Establishment Board of Trustees and I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into.  Overwhelmed? Yes.  Unsure what to expect? Yes.  Excited? Yes.  Out of my depth? Yes.  So many emotions and learning with little time to reflect and ponder on the activities over the years.  I have a story to share and I hope it gives insight to the administration activities that I have been involved in to see the transitioning and change of education in my home town. 

I was employed by the Board in 2010 as Secretary.  I come to the position with fresh, new and very na├»ve ideas about the education system and learning issues that had occurred within our community and in particular the closing of the college and primary schools.

I returned home from Australia and had lived in various cities in New Zealand as an administrator working for New Zealand Defence Force, Government Department, Private Training Establishments and my last position as an Employment Consultant – so yes although I have a strong background in administration, the education sector was completely new.

My duties for the Board included creating an administration system that suited the Board and creating systems that were cost effective and user friendly.  Moving into the old Waikohu District Council building;  setting up phone lines;  power;  rental agreements;  purchasing what we needed as a Board to run effectively; minute taking and organising consultation hui, functions, interviews, accommodation and flights and so much more.

I witnessed very extended and regular meetings; consultation meetings that were attended by two people and some that were attended by a lot more; a Board trying to work within an environment that had historical issues; a Board trying to build a school within unrealistic timeframes and achieving it. 
The Establishment Board of Trustees worked long and hard; had some very strong debates and most importantly had a passion and a vision to see that all students achieve to their highest potential through delivery of an inclusive local curriculum promoting identity through innovative 21st century teaching and learning practices come together and move forward to establish what we now know as Te Karaka Area School and in preparation for opening in 2011.

Karyn’s employment was a fresh change.  I remember having black and white everywhere i.e. lists of telephone numbers, dates and consultation work.  The day Karyn arrived was the day colour arrived.  I used to arrive at work and one of my things was to find out what new thing Karyn had done overnight.  This was the start of my learning; time to open my mind to big picture thinking; forward thinking and an introduction to a completely new language and the 21st or 22nd century education.

Nelson Mandela states “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”, definitely has changed my world, learning a new language and having an education and learning environment that was really different from my own.  To see the growth not only of the school and its environment, but seeing our students, nephews, nieces, moko’s, tamariki achieve and move forward has been a thrilling ride.  Innovation, Collaboration, Inclusiveness, words that have a strong and effective impact on education today and on our students who, believe it or not, understand the meaning of these words.  What a change! 

Martin Luther King states Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase”.  The Establishment Board of Trustees with their team work, support and inspiration didn’t see the whole staircase but I’m betting that each one of them saw a vision, one they are proud of and one that they can feel that Karyn and the staff of Te Karaka Area School are working with and in very capable hands.

So, Welcome to Te Karaka Area School and “through this door walk our future’s creative thinkers, problem solvers and innovators”.  This is what our school is creating and I’m privileged to be a part of the journey and as mentioned before there is a lot more to come.

My vision as an administrator:  to provide an efficient and effective administration service to the staff and stakeholders of TKAS that is transparent, accountable, timely and innovative, one that will assist all in the delivery of 21st century teaching and learning practices at TKAS.


  1. Beautiful piece of writing. So clear, full of passion and motivating. Thank you.

  2. I can't imagine what we would have done without you Caroline. Karyns PA, but our go to person for everything else!

  3. You are the triple x factor administrator, with integrity plus...
    national standards achieved significantly above,...

  4. Vision accomplished in a professional, pleasant, praiseworthy manner. What a joy you are to work with, Caroline.