It was with sadness and mixed emotions that Justin Harper, principal of Cullinane College in Whanganui, announced his resignation on May 23, taking effect at the end of the school academic term.
He has been appointed to lead John Paul College in Rotorua, which the previous principal, Patrick
Walsh, left to become headmaster of Sacred Heart College in Auckland.
Mr Harper said that he had a genuine love for Cullinane College, and the four-plus years that he spent
there had been some of the best times in the lives of himself and of his family.
He hopes he will be remembered for challenging students to deeply consider their own directions in life.
“That they remember me as someone who believed in them, and hopes/prays that they’ll authentically live out the lives that God has planned for them.”
“The school is in a strong position with great staffing, enrolment growth, and an enviable learning
environment. The heart of the college is strong.”
Cullinane College board chair Sandy Cuff said that she was sad to acknowledge his resignation.
“The college’s reputation in the arts, sports and exceptional academic performance reflects the
commitment and priority it has been given within the leadership of the school. While Justin will be quick to
acknowledge the support and hard work from the school’s Senior Leadership Team, committed teaching
and support staff and the board, no one would dispute the exceptional and visionary leadership Justin has
provided to the college,” she said.
He leaves a void within the Catholic parish of Whanganui — Te Parihi Katorika Ki Whanganui, where he was an extraordinary minister of Eucharist and also served on the Parish Pastoral Advisory Team.
There is a sense of homecoming for both Mr Harper, his wife Nicola and their children.
“We are returning to our family’s roots and where family live in the wider Boy of Plenty. Nicola and I
were raised and married in Rotorua. We taught at John Paul College there as a young couple,” he said.
The Cullinane College board will now begin calling for applicants to be the college’s fourth principal.