We have a new Calendar on the Website and it will be populated with dates in the coming weeks. We did want to give you a heads up on some important first term dates...

APPA 'Preseason' Zoom 25 Jan 10:30 - 11:30 All Principals
Cluster Presidents Meeting 10 Feb Presidents of Clusters
APPA Council 3 March Presidents / Council
APPA Conference 6-8 April Registered Delegates

We are looking to make some changes to our format so keep an eye out for our first newsletter next year.

Tēnā koe

Well - we got there! You made it! As many of us farewell our students there is a brief moment to catch our breath in what has been yet another challenging year thanks to COVID.

I want to acknowledge you all, your hard work and care for your schools, communities, staff and students has been legendary. Your patience and understanding has been tested and you have maintained your composure in some pretty difficult times. The Auckland region is indeed lucky to have such a dedicated group of leaders.

Our thanks to the Ministry of Education who have been working in very trying conditions. They not only had COVID-19 to manage but a major change in their organisational structure. We are fortunate we have a Deputy Secretary and Directors of Education who know our context. We are also grateful to Iona Holsted for including the APPA in Peak Body conversations throughout the year.

Thank you to our Business Partners who enable us to have an organsiation that works for members - we cannot do this without your sponsorship and support. In a tough year you have stuck by us - Thank you.

We have said farewell to a number of principals who retire at the end of this year. To Debbie Marshall Dairy Flat School, Anne-Marie Biggs Glendowie School, Craig McCarthny St Heliers School, Bruce Young Holy Cross Papatoetoe, Liz Gunn Churchill Park School, Alan Lyth Bairds Mainfreight, and Dave Bradley Wellsford School, we wish you all the best as you take leave from the profession.

We also acknowledge Filivaifale Jason Swann who takes up the role of the Director of ERO Northern Region. Jason is going to be missed by us all and we look forward to working with him in this new role.

Our sincere thanks Perry Rush for his Leadership of NZPF for the past couple of years. Perry will be in our neck of the woods from the new year in his role with the Leadership Centre at Auckland University.

We sent Jason and Perry a small token of our appreciation on your behalf.

Remember if you know of someone who is moving schools, leaving the area or making changes then let Sue Green know.

We also congratulate Dr Cherie Taylor-Patel who takes on the role of NZPF President next year.

Thanks to Sue Green for all her efforts this year juggling and managing venue changes, cancellations and anything else that came her way.

and finally...

To our APPA Executive Team. Thank you all for your tireless work. The many additional meetings and late nights thinking about the wider education system. These people go above and beyond to make sure that Auckland schools are well served. Nardi, Saane, Kevin, Wendy, Steve and Heath your effort, passion and wisdom is valued.


To all our leaders, take some time to recharge your batteries over the break. Be with those you love and care about. Do what you love doing and most of all have a very Merry Christmas.

E huri tō aroaro ki te rā, tukuna tō ataarangi ki muri i a koe. Turn and face the Sun and let your shadow fall behind you.

Stephen Lethbridge


APPA Zoom 25 January

The APPA Executive has worked hard this year to provide our principals with the most up-to-date information as possible. Our two key purposes of Advocacy and Support have been to the fore in all of our work. We worked closely with Ministry staff in both Auckland and Wellington on your behalf. While we did not always get the outcome we preferred, our combined voices were listened to, and we were each able to be operationaly viable and to sustain the mahi of our schools, no easy task when so much was changing at such short notice.

To this end, APPA will host a combined principals Zoom meeting on January 25 from 10:30 - 11:30 to provide information to our principals on starting school in whatever CPF we find ourselves in. This session will be run by the APPA and we have control of the technology. We can talk through any specifics relating to our Auckland context and to answer any questions we may have.

We will send out the details of the zoom in mid January. You will need a zoom account, if you don't have one you can sign up here.

So that principals and schools can be prepared for the questions around the planned 5 to 11-year-olds COVID-19 immunisation programme, the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre is planning to email schools with an information pack on Friday 14 January. 

The email from the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre will have a more detailed plan of how vaccinations will be delivered in the community, and the resources they are providing to schools to facilitate student and parent/caregiver conversations about the vaccine. At this stage APPA are unsure of the level of involvement of schools for vaccinations in January, if any. We will update you if we have any further information.

We are grateful to Google for granting the APPA an Education Workspace environment. Each of our Executive have dedicated email addresses. We hope that these will be the point of contact for any questions or communication with the APPA Executive. 

Executive Secretary Sue Green
President Stephen Lethbridge
Vice President Dr Wendy Kofoed
Secretary Heath McNeil
Treasurer Steve King
Te Aka Tāmaki Nardi Leonard
NZPPA Saane Faaofo-Oldehaver
Business Partners Kevin Bush

As people move on from roles these accounts will be a constant.

With the Prime Minister’s announcement this week it would appear that we will be starting school in 2022 in Orange Level. Under Orange level, so it looks like it may be school ‘as we sort-of know it’. We do not need to operate bubbles or groups or social distance, with usual school schedules operating.

As you know, things can and probably will change as we get to grips with the new CPF requirements. However, if we do have a situation where we need to minimise contact, using our recent experience may enable us to quickly recreate the structures required.

Keeping on top of the information is crucial and the Ministry site is a great resource.

As we are approaching the end of the year we need to make sure we recognise those in the region who have provided service to education.

If anyone is retiring from the profession, or moving schools please let Sue Green know about it.

It is also time to seek nominations for the APPA Service Awards. Please take some time to think of colleagues who deserve recognition.

We honour recipients at the end of year luncheon.

Fellow of the APPA

Nominees should have at least 3 years service to the Association – Council, Executive, Leading/member of a Committee or Work Force, or have had an impact on Education beyond their Cluster.

Nominate a colleague for a Fellow of the APPA Award

Distinguished Fellow of the APPA

Nominees should have at least 5 years service to the Association - Council, Executive, Leading a Committee or Work Force, or have had significant impact on Education beyond their Cluster.

Nominate a colleague for a Distinguished Fellow of the APPA Award

Life Membership

To be awarded, following retirement from the profession, to recognise an exceptional contribution to APPA and to Principals. 

May be awarded to Past Presidents or members of the Executive of APPA, or other members/recognised educational professionals, whom the awards committee maintain is worthy by deed or example of such recognition. Nominees may have received an APPA Distinguished Fellow Award.

The number of recipients will be limited.

Nominate a colleague for a Life Membership Award


Please note that the previous conference date of 20-22 October 2021, has now been moved to 6-8 April 2022.

All pre-booked registrations have been transferred, and your place will be held, at the same price as advertised.

The Hilton Taupō has transferred all previously booked accommodation.

Please remember to change your flight dates as well.

Do not hesitate to contact Sue Green if you have any questions. 

Kia ora koutou

Two weeks of Level Three almost over and we have holidays in sight! We know a lot of you have been telling your teams to take the opportunity to rest up and recharge, we all need to follow this advice! Once again we have faced a challenging and difficult term in what is proving to be a prolonged and challenging couple of years, and we know that we have more challenge to come!

We thank you for your voice in helping to shape the response to the situation we face. The holiday data we gathered was instrumental in shaping the Minister's decision. Last week we gathered information about the extent to which schools were going above and beyond to support their communities and the results were pretty sobering. We have shared this information with Local Ministry and Iona Holsted. We are lobbying for a more unified approach to support communities that involves Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Education and Schools being aligned.

We continue to request additional resourcing for Auckland Schools as a result of the prolonged restrictions, we look forward to some decisions being made so that we can support our students ahead of any return to school.

Alert Level Changes

We cannot predict what Alert Level we will be in to start Term Four. However, as leaders we are always thinking about what is coming next, so Level 2 is our focus. As always, our source of truth is the Ministry of Education Bulletin. It is important to take the time to read the bulletins carefully. Level 2 information has been out for a number of weeks due to the rest of the country being in this Alert Level. We have asked the Ministry to remember that Auckland Schools will need reminding of these requirements over the coming weeks.

There will be many questions as we head into Term Four - Can we run graduations? What about Discos? Professional Learning staff onsite or not? Please gather your questions here, this may give the MoE opt in sessions more of an opportunity to have the information answered rather than a - we will find out about that. We can also progress these questions at a National level as we are part of regular Peak Body meetings.

Congratulations to Auckland Principals elected to NZPF

Congratulations to Cherie Taylor-Patel, elected as the 2022 NZPF President. Cherie will be joined by a strong contingent of Auckland Principals on the NZPF Executive - Stephanie Thompson, Julie Hepburn and Gavin Beere. We look forward to working with the NZPF to forward the issues facing us in Auckland.

and finally

Our communities take the lead from us. Thank you for your leadership, your calm assuredness in the face of adversity and for your support for your school communities in a time of uncertainty. You are valued and appreciated.

You have colleagues to support you, reach out. You have colleagues to support, reach out. As always, your APPA Executive are here if you need anything.

Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa

Let us keep close together, not far apart

Stephen Lethbridge

President APPA

The conference committee are keeping a close eye on the alert level settings and are busily working in the background to be as flexible as possible. I am sure you can all appreciate the logistics involved in coordinating a conference with the added challenges of a Delta variant outbreak.

Keep an eye out for updates in the next couple of weeks.

Jane Bush is keeping a close eye on the impact of Alert levels and the upcoming Rehu Tai Festival of Oral Language. Rehu Tai is a little different to the Choir Festival and we can be a bit more responsive to any changes that need to be made as a result of Alert Level changes.

If you have any questions about your cluster events please email Jane

Our business partner Linewize has put together some Webinar opportunities for family and whānau, the first starting tomorrow night.

You can find details of the webinars available here. This would be a useful resource to share with communities.

Our thanks to Saunil and the team at Linewize for supporting schools.

Following on from the successful meetings last week we have two more drop in sessions next week. Our thanks to the Auckland Regional Team and to Helen Hurst the Deputy Secretary for Sector Enablement and Support.

Asking and answering questions in the Zoom environment with a hundred participants was a challenge. The chat feature was useful - but the volume meant that similar questions were asked and answered multiple times. So how about we capture questions and we can share these with the MoE prior to the sessions - members of the APPA Executive will capture the answers or follow up actions on the document for future reference. Please add your questions to this document.

You should have received a couple of calendar invites from the Director of Education Auckland. Here are the links to the Zoom meetings...

Monday September 6 at 1:30pm

Tuesday September 7 at 12:30pm

Remember these meeting are optional and you are most welcome to attend both if you wish.

APPA Executive

Once again we find ourselves in a position of cancelling the APPA Choir Festival.

We are incredibly disappointed and know there will be a great many children from around the region who will miss out on the opportunity to perform at the Auckland Town Hall.

After consulting with the Choir Trainers and Festival Organiser, Leyette Callister, we have decided that we cannot progress given the uncertainty around lockdown and length of alert levels. We are fast approaching the deadline for venue refund and we cannot guarantee that our choirs will be able to rehearse in the lead up to the 8 performances.

Once again, we will start the planning for the 2022 event. Our heartfelt thanks to all those who have been involved, we share your disappointment.

Stephen Lethbridge, APPA President 

Kia ora awesome Auckland region leaders!

Firstly, thank you all for your continued hard work in this difficult time. We have at least another two weeks at level 4, but one could argue that is a lot easier than managing the dreaded level 3.

Our thoughts are with those affected by the severe weather earlier this week. As a resident of Huapai and ex Principal of Taupaki I can honestly say this is the worst flooding we have seen in a very long time. The water is slowly receding and our thoughts are with those whānau who are directly affected.

The APPA are meeting regularly with Regional and National Ministry officials around alert level conditions and the practical implications for us in schools. One silver lining in this cloud of level 4 is that we get to see how the rest of the country handles Level 3.

Vaccinations, mask use at Level 3 and the digital divide are the top issues that APPA is progressing with the MoE.

We have passed on the requests for priority vaccination for teachers and as expected this has been met with a standard response from the Ministry of Health that all New Zealanders are eligible for vaccination as of the 1st of September. Our advice to schools is to encourage staff to take any appointments they can get and schools should be flexible to allow this to happen. Let us know your thoughts...

The 31 August Bulletin noted the rationale behind no mandated mask use in schools at level three. These guidelines are from the Ministry of Health. We still think that mask use in Delta is important as the virus ignores age. As teachers, we think that teaching children to wear masks properly is doable - like we taught them to wash their hands. We need to remember that the guidelines are revised at each alert level change. Just because mask use is not mandated at Level 3 doesn't mean it will not be a feature of level 2. Let us know your thoughts...

The digital divide and equity of access to internet connection remains a key priority for schools in the Auckland region. APPA is continually asking questions. It is clear that the fix isn't just more devices - it is hard to use a device without stable and cheap access to the Internet. Whilst we are waiting for 'the powers that be' to move on this we have a responsibility to ensure that our school's do everything we can to solve the issue. Many schools over the past year have re-prioritised funding into additional devices and have worked hard with staff to develop their online learning approaches. Yet connectivity at home is a massive hurdle. We are working hard to get this addressed. Let us know your thoughts...

Again, if there is anything we can do to help and support you, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact any one of the APPA Executive Members.

Take care of yourselves, look out for your colleagues and be kind to yourselves. Now more than ever we need optimism - mariu

He ua ki te pō, he paewai ki te ao. Rain at night, eels at dawn.

Stephen Lethbridge

APPA President

Kia ora koutou

What a quick turn of events today. I know many of you will be zooming, on conference calls and in shared docs as I write this note. This the first time we have been at Level 4 since the start of last year.

I know that this will cause worry and concern for you, your staff and those children and families you serve. Once again our communities will look to us to be the source of trusted information and the voice of calm in troubled times. And, once again we will deliver.

The Ministry Bulletin will be our go to source of information, this is a time to carefuly read those bulletins. What is clear is that Level 4 means schools will be closed and no one will be onsite. At this stage that means no distribution of materials, devices to anyone - please no exceptions.

The APPA have been in meetings with peak bodies and the Ministry today, you can expect a call from a Ministry person on the 18th of August checking in on you and your school. That is a great time to ask any questions arising from the bulletin.

What may be useful is to have some cluster Zoom meetings for Principals with the Auckland Ministry Team at key points. We are in the process of setting this up with Isabel Evans - these are not compulsory but may help... we will keep you posted.

If you have any questions you need answered please flick me an email, give me a call on 021 647 303, or you can email any one of our APPA Executive Members. We have a direct line to people who can answer quickly.

Just like last time, we do not want to burdon you with too many emails and will only communicate if absolutely necessary.

On behalf of all the children of Tāmaki Makaurau, thank you all for the work you are about to do. Remember to look out for each other and reach out if you need any support.

E hara taku toa i te toa takitahi, he toa takatini.

My strength is not as an individual, but as a collective.

Take Care

Stephen Lethbridge


Due to the Prime Minster's Lockdown announcement this evening, our Executive has postponed the Business Partner's Term Three luncheon due to be held tomorrow (Wednesday 18th) at Ellerslie Events Centre.

We will do our best to try and organise a future date as we know that many of you were excited about hearing our guest speaker, Nigel Latta. 

We thank you for your patience during these uncertain times. 

Kia ora koutou

Thank you to all our APPA Council representatives for attending the meeting last Thursday, barely a week after many of us attended the NZPF conference in Rotorua. There are so many meetings on our calendars so we are thankful that the council representatives prioritise time to discuss and progress the issues we face in our schools.

Linda Miller and Iva Ropati presented a condensed version of their Rauhuia consultation to the APPA Council. They shared some emerging trends from their consultation into Principal Professional Learning needs. It was somewhat surprising to hear that only 15% of principals nationwide completed their survey. We look forward to their report to the Teaching Council.

I am also involved in the Rauhuia space for the next two terms in a partnership between the Teaching Council and the NZEI that focusses upon the practice of leadership rather than on positional roles. I am working with Wellington based Deputy Principal Anastasia Aukuso-Lolo to gather voice of Senior Leaders, Team Leaders and Teachers with respect to the Teaching Council Leadership Strategy. I would welcome any and all conversations around how leadership is grown in your schools and how Rauhuia can support you in developing the future of our profession. Please contact me at

The Minister for Covid Response has signalled the proposed action if there were to be a community case of the Delta variant of COVID-19. This serves as a timely reminder for us all to revisit our Alert Level planning, making sure that we are prepared for any and all eventualities.

The Ministry of Education are engaging with the sector around Te Mahau within a redesigned Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga - the ESA within the redesigned MoE. There is an ongoing commitment from the Auckland Regional Office to engage with APPA, AIMS, ASSPA, Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, and ECE around the structures that need to be in place in order to deliver a strong localised and responsive service. We will keep you posted on the outcomes of these meetings.

I attended the Remuera Principals' Cluster meeting this past week. It was great to listen to the conversation around the many changes we will experience and how they will land with schools. I am looking forward to attending the North Shore Principals' Cluster Breakfast in September. If you would like me to come along to a cluster meeting please get in touch.

Have a great week leading your schools, and... thank you for all you do for the children of Tāmaki Makaurau

Ngā mihi

Stephen Lethbridge

APPA President