Pūrākaunui School
One Waka. One Crew. Many Journeys.


Ko wai au? Ko Helvellyn Range te maunga. Ko Irish te moana. Ko Mersey te awa. Ko Rere Aotearoa te waka. Nō Liverpool England ōku tīpuna. Kei te noho au ki Waitati. Ko Bell Howard tōku whānau. Ko Thomas tōku matua. Ko Colette tōku whāea. Ko Barbera tōku kuia. Ko Nicky Bell tōku ingoa. Tīhei mauri ora. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

I am very proud to be the leader of this very exciting learning community.  It is also a pleasure to lead a very committed and passionate team of teachers and support staff who have many life experiences and skills to share with our young people. Our first priority is to build positive relationships with students and their whānau and work in partnership together.

The individual skills and abilities of each child are valued and we aim for each child to achieve to the best of their ability and potential. A strength of our school is the involvement of parents and the community in the classroom programmes as well as activities outside the school. We live in a rich, beautiful coastal environment and value education outside of the classroom.

I am a teaching Principal and this is the part of the job that I find most exciting – getting into the classroom with children and watching them grow, learn and improve.

I look forward to getting to know you as your child progresses through Purākaunui School.  The staff and I welcome the opportunity, at any time, to discuss with you matters regarding your child’s education and welfare.

Matua Brendan takes the Teina (junior) class in the mornings and the whole school some afternoons. He has worked in a range of schools in addition to running education programmes at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. Brendan lives in Ōtepoti with his wife and two tamariki. He has an M.A. in history and is particulary interested in local history, Te Ao Māori, and P.E.

Before he was an teacher, Brendan was a winemaker and has worked in wineries around the world as well as running his own winery, URBN VINO, in an historic building in Dunedin CBD. Brendan is a committed trail runner and can often be found running around the hills of Ōtepoti (except when it is too cold, too rainy, too hot, or too early).

Sarah is our wonderful school secretary. Once described as "manna from heaven," she can do any task quickly and efficiently and expects others to do the same. If you have a notice to return make sure you hand it in. Sarah is our key communication person: she puts together our fortnightly newsletters, checks the school cell phone regularly, and is responsible for refreshing our school website so you can have a window into our world here at Pūrākaunui School. When Sarah is not in the office she can be found outside throwing a frisbee for Dante the school dog with our tamariki or applying her mind to a cryptic crossword with staff. 

John is the caretaker. He's been here a while.

He can also sometimes be spotted behind a computer crunching numbers, baking delicious bread, or riding off into the sunset on his Moto Guzzi.

Dante spends most of his day in the office hard at work assisting with principal and secretarial duties, but occasionally takes a break to emerge for a game of frisbee and chase.

When he's not at school plotting to overthrow Nicky's seat of power, Dante enjoys keeping fit with running, yoga, and aquajogging.