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Senior Leadership Team

Principal: James Thomas
Deputy Principal: Murray Saunders
Deputy Principal: Hester Myburgh
Deputy Principal: Suzanne Powar
Deputy Principal: Siosiua Pole
Acting Deputy Principal: Stephen Langdon
Business Manager: Denis Murphy

James Thomas

Ko Rangitoto tooku maunga
Ko Waitamata tooku moana
Ko Ngaati Pakeha tooku iwi
Ko Te Paina me Whangaparaoa College tooku kura
Ko Fred & Mary tooku matua me whaea
Ko James tooku ingoa
Teenaa Koutou, Teenaa Koutou, Teenaa Koutou, katoa

I am delighted to be joining the team at Pukekohe High School for the first two terms of 2024 while the Board recruit the new permanent Principal.  I have been very fortunate to have had many rewarding experiences with young people, school staff and whanau during my years in education.  This has included leadership opportunities such as Principal of Whangaparaoa College and Te Paina School; Commissioner at Pukekohe North School; President of the Auckland Secondary Principals Ass.; and Trustee on the PolyFest Board.

Sally and I have four adult children and three grandchildren.  I am still actively involved in sport and enjoy music.

While at Pukekohe I look forward to contributing to positive experiences and opportunities for our tamariki.

Murray Saunders

I joined Pukekohe High School in July 2023 having recently moved with my family into the Franklin area.  Prior to this I was a Deputy Principal at Onehunga High School and a Whānau House leader and teacher of Social Sciences and Te Reo Māori at Macleans College in East Auckland.  Throughout my teaching career I have been a firm believer in the power of secondary schools in Aotearoa to cater for, and unleash the potential, of all rangatahi both inside and outside of the classroom.  I have been heavily involved in the coaching of sport – football and cricket – and supporting kapa haka.  

Pukekohe High School truly is a school of the community.  I hope to contribute positively to the experience of our students here and work towards enabling rangatahi to realise their potential as members of the school and wider community.

Siosiua Pole

Teena Koutou Teena Koutou Teena Koutou
Ko Puhitahi te maunga
Ko te Moana nui a Kiwa te moana
Ko Ngati Tonga te iwi
No Tongatapu ahau
Kei Otahuhu te kainga
Ko Desiree taku wahine
Ko Kotelia raua ko Fitimoka raua ko Patrick te tamariki
Ko Siosiua Pole taku ingoa
Teena Koutou Teena Koutou Teena Koutou katoa
Kia Ora and Malo e Lelei,
I am a Tongan born Pasifika who migrated here from Tonga at the age of 14 alongside my parents and 6 other siblings. Before arriving here at Pukekohe High School I have previously worked at Tuakau Primary School (1 yr and 2 Terms) as Deputy Principal, Kelston Boys High School (6 years) as Teacher of Mathematics and Wesley College (5 years) as HOD of Mathematics. I am married to Desiree who is also a Secondary School Teacher, and together we have 2 beautiful girls, Kotelia and Fitimoka (ages 8 and 4yr olds) and a son Patrick (11 months old).
I’m very passionate about the education of our tamariki and their future. I hope I can be a valuable contributor to their learnings while being here Pukekohe High School.
Malo ‘aupito

Suzanne Powar

I began my teaching career in 2005 at Pukekohe High School as a teacher of health, physical education and social science, having also taught overseas in the UK and in South Korea.  I have held a variety of leadership positions with the health and physical education faculty and recently as the Specialist Classroom Teacher to support new and experienced teachers to develop their classroom practise. Outside of the classroom I have been involved in coaching and managing girls cricket and football, working with the Community Council in fundraising activities for CanTeen and in leading year 10 camps.

I have a particular interest in leading change related to pedagogy (the ‘how’ we teach) and in student wellbeing. I believe strongly in the potential of all students and view it as our responsibility to the community to support and guide our students  to become confident, connected, lifelong learners who are active participants in their community.

Ko te piko o te maahuri, teeraa te tupu o te raakau

The way the sapling is shaped, determines how the tree grows.

Hester Myburgy

Teena koutou
Ko Drakensberg te maunga
Ko Limpopo te awa
Ko South Africa te ahau
Ko Hester Myburgh toku ingoa

Born and raised in South Africa and a staunch supporter of the Springboks, Pukekohe is where my home is.  It is a privilege to share in the diversity of our town.

I am delighted to be part of an experienced leadership team and work at Pukekohe High School.  It is important to support the growth, learning, and development of our aakonga.  It takes a village to raise a child. Working collaboratively with our community we can raise expectations for our aakonga and develop them as well-rounded, balanced individuals, making a difference wherever they go.

I am a firm believer in teamwork and building relationships. For the moment we journey together for a brighter future.

Stephen Langdon

I joined the school in 2018 from the UK, the subject that I teach is science with focus on biology and agriculture and horticulture science. For the last four years I have been part of the Kaitiaki Aakonga team finishing last year with the year 13 cohort.

The opportunity this year to take care of Mr Pole portfolio is really exciting. I’m hoping to take my experience from the pastoral work to make sure that I am promoting the best outcomes for our Aakonga during my time in the position.

I look forward to to getting the most out of the time I have as part of the the SLT team this year.

Denis Murphy

I’ve been on the team at Pukekohe High School for 4 years after holding a similar role at James Cook High School, Manurewa. Prior to that I spent around 30 years in the Disability/Mental Health sector in various accounting and management roles firstly for IDEA Services (Previously NZ Society for the Intellectually Handicapped Inc or IHC as it was known) and then for The Goodwood Park Healthcare Group.

My family and I have lived in the Pukekohe area since 1991 and our children were all educated at Pukekohe High. I coached football at the Pukekohe AFC and was the club’s Treasurer for a while. I am also Chairman of the St Joseph’s Pukekohe Primary School BOT.

It is a real pleasure to be part of the team here at Pukekohe High School. I see my role here as basically a support person for the BOT, Senior Leadership Team and Staff, ensuring that the school’s finances are managed efficiently and that its property resources are in good order and fit for purpose. Pukekohe High School celebrated its centenary in 2021 so it has a long and proud history and I believe the next 100 years are going to be even better.


News & Events

Year 13 Business Studies at YES
On Thursday 23rd May our Year 13 Business Studies students took the stage to present their innovative business pitches to an esteemed panel of judges…
Auckland War Memorial Visit
Recently our Level One History students visited the Auckland War Memorial Museum to learn about New Zealand’s involvement in World War Two. A great time…
Best Animation Nomination
Year 13 student Bryn Gidden’s brick film “A Christmas in Custody” made in December 2023 has been nominated for the Best Animation on the Bricks…

BYOD for Learning

With the resurfacing of COVID in our region and changes in
Alert Levels causing students to continue their learning from home, having a
reliable device at home to access online learning, remain connected with
teachers, and receive feedback about their work makes 
BYOD more essential than

Click here for a reminder of our BYOD recommendations.