Some images may not display as intended in Microsoft Outlook. Gmail users may experience message clipping. Please click the link to the right to ensure you can see the whole newsletter.
View this email in your browser
Issue 1
Welcome to the first issue of 'Rural Matters' for 2017.  The year has got off to a cracking start at the NZPF national office, with newly elected president Whetu Cormick at the helm for this year.

Whetu is very focused on the membership and connecting with as many of you as possible.  Already he has attended several regional association meetings and events and would be delighted to turn up at just have to send him an invite!!  Whetu's email is

This week he attended the Central regions meeting to hear 'what's on top' for principals there.  Whetu says attending these meetings is a priority because the regional views inform the national executive's advocacy work.   

The annual NZPF Moot was held last week and over one hundred regional principals shared their 'hot topics'.  One of the recurring themes was hauora and the importance of looking after yourselves as principals, especially rural principals. The theme of the Moot was dealing with and navigating change.  As we all know too many changes can create stress and over the past decade we have witnessed a great deal of policy changes. One of the most important messages to emerge was to 'stay connected'.  Although this may seem like common sense, we can get so bogged down with endless demands and paperwork that we don't prioritise this important factor.  The other is keeping balance in our lives.  Sometimes easier said than done, but balance is another 'must do'.

Being a principal can be a lonely job even though you are surrounded by people every day. Being a rural principal can bring a sharp focus to that loneliness. We can probably all identify someone who helped us through a difficult patch, so take the time to 'pay that forward' by contacting another principal today! It may be a principal new to the area, or a colleague who is under stress or feeling isolated.  We all need to know that we are not alone and that we have someone to talk to.  Be that someone! 

At the end of last year our editor, Liz Hawes undertook to share  tips and advice with you from other rural principals.  In this issue we include a section on tips from two different rural school principals, one from Stewart Island and the other from the Taranaki. 

On the topic of 'Tips', here's one from me.  Many of us don't have caretakers, right?  So we all need a tool box. Last year I invested in a really flash set of 'Stanley' drawers from Mitre 10, to replace the fishing box I used to keep my tools in.  That purchase was one of the most useful I made all year!! 

Below are a couple of inspirational messages and a youtube clip that you might find useful. 
Click here for the youtube clip.



Nga mihi nui

Karen Brisco
Registrations are now open for next year's conference to be held in Queenstown from 19-22 September 2017. As we have done at the past two conferences, we will be holding a luncheon just for rural principals to connect and network. So make sure you register! 
Many rural schools are Civil Defence Centres, but some of you may not even realise that.  Even fewer of you may be aware of what that means for schools and for you as the principal. The president of NZSTA, Lorraine Kerr has questioned Civil Defence to get clarity for us but so far without much success. We will be pursuing this issue ourselves and get more information out to you as it becomes available.  If any of you have operated as a Civil Defence Centre already, we would welcome your views and any information you can share with us.  Do not hesitate to contact Karen Brisco, your rural representative on the NZPF executive at

You might also want to sign up for an emergency text alert from your region. Click here for the Civil Defence website.  
NZPF has been offering a helpline for many years. If you have some pressing issue you need help to untangle, then do not hesitate to ring 0800 798 798.  Our executive member on duty will advise and help you to sort it out. 
You and/or your team members can easily access the NZ Principal Magazines online, as an e-magazine or as a PDF. Additionally you can search for a previous issue, an article by title or by the author of the article. All magazines back to Term 1 2012 are available in this format. To view or search click here.
Last year the editor of Rural Matters, Liz Hawes,  undertook to bring you rural school feedback on useful practices, through this publication.
In this issue she shares with you insights from the rural schools she has visited recently.
Her most recent rural school visit was to Half Moon Bay on the remote Stewart Island. Principal Kath Johnson had some gems of wisdom to share.
1. Although Stewart Island is clearly very isolated, Kath says 'We don't dwell on that, rather we think how lucky we are to have so much else that mainland kids don't have, like freedom and nature to explore.'
2. Using the outdoor opportunities to test and develop problem solving skills.  Outdoor exploration is also useful to develop self-confidence, resilience and common sense
3. When your roll numbers are small you can offer more individualised learning
4.  Build strong relationships with local business.  For example the Foveaux Strait Ferry lets all the children travel for free so they can participate in all sports and speech competitions, Science and Social Studies Fairs and IT competitions on the mainland
5. prioritising children's learning over the paperwork

Kim Waite of Toko School in Taranaki also has some tips for success
1. Collaborate with other small rural schools nearby for sports and debating competitions so that all children can compete and facilities can be shared
2. Larger rural schools, support local sole charge schools so that their children can be included in programmes that on their own they could not afford to run
3. Collaborate for PLD for teachers and principals developing curriculum, moderating data, interpreting and using data, allowing teachers teaching the same level to work on PLD together
4. Build strong relationships with parents, grandparents and other locals who in turn will support the school with building and maintenance jobs, tar-sealing, gardening, lawn mowing, fund raising and other useful jobs
5. Using the environment, like space for an orchard and opportunity to teach children about gardening, planting and nurturing fruit trees and grafting; about composting and worm farms and recycling; companion planting and much more 

Finally,  here is a link to a very useful Leading-Learning Blogspot with some excellent and often practical ideas.  The March issue talks about Modern Learning Environments, John Dewey and his theories, which remain as applicable today as they ever were and Hauora from an Irish perspective. 

Please contact Karen Brisco if you have any questions about any items in this flyer or if you have some great tips to share for the next issue.
NZPF assures its business partners that, as members, you will contact them to have a conversation if you are purchasing products, services or solutions for your schools that a business partner supplies. Please support our partners as their assistance to NZPF means better membership services to you.

Gold Partners

Silver Partners

Bronze Partners
Our mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list