A Little About Me



I have been married to Donald Burrows for 40 years and together we have two daughters, Emma and Esther. Our daughters are both married with children, they are graduates and qualified teachers and both have strong family connections in North Canterbury. My husband Donald is a fifth generation North Canterbury resident and our two of our grandchildren, who live in Kaikoura are seventh generation North Canterbury children. Donald and I own our own small farm 18 Km from Rangiora in Balcairn. For over one hundred years the Burrows family name has been respected in the North Canterbury district.

I lost my own parents before I was twenty years of age, my father during the Vietnam War and my mother from a brain aneurysm. My elder sister Julia lives in Melbourne, Australia and sadly we lost our sister Catherine to breast cancer in 2011. As a result, the Burrows family is everything to me.


I attended Palmerston North Teachers’ College from 1979 – 1981 graduating with a Trained Teacher’s Certificate and a Diploma in Teaching. I began my teaching career immediately and after undertaking extra-mural study graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Education in 1987.

I was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1992.

While working full-time as Head of the Faculty of English, at Cambridge High School, I graduated from the University of Waikato with a Master of Arts (Hons) 1994 – 1998.

I completed my PhD at the University of Canterbury in 2018. The study explored bi-cultural approaches and kaupapa Māori Leadership pedagogies that seek to address the disparities in the educational success that exist for Māori students in state secondary schools in New Zealand.

I served three terms as a Member of the Deportation Review Tribunal [A Ministerial Appointment] and sat of the Bench on the District Court from 1989 – 1999.

I served as a Member of the National Advisory Group for Animal Welfare [A Ministerial Appointment] 2008 – 2011.

I was nominated and then a finalist in the Westpac and Fairfax Media Women of Influence Awards in 2013 in the Local/Regional Category for my contribution to Education.

I served as a Member of the Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board [Ministerial Appointment] 2014 – 2016. I was invited to seek reappointment in 2016, but due to these proceedings I declined.

I began my teaching career in Palmerston North in 1982 in the Primary Sector. In 1985 I took up a position at a Form 1 – 7 Rural High School. I was the Form 2 (Year 8) Home-Room teacher and taught Form 5 English and Science. I was offered many professional opportunities from 1985 – 1994 and established myself in the secondary section of the school over that time. In 1995 I was appointed to a teaching position in English for Forms 3 – 7 at Cambridge High School. Later that year I was promoted to the position of Head of the Faculty English. In 1999 I left Cambridge High School on promotion to the position of Deputy Principal at Marlborough Girls’ College.

I left Cambridge High School having graduated with Master of Arts with Honours from the University of Waikato. I had built the reputation of the Faculty of English, grown a talented professional team in that Faulty and improved student achievement exponentially. I was recognised in the ERO Report at that time for my positive leadership. My most satisfying achievement during my time at Cambridge were the 7 scholarships achieved by the English Faculty in 1999, four of which were achieved by students in my class, one of whom was my daughter Emma.

I took up my position of Deputy Principal at Marlborough Girls’ College in 1999. I worked positively with the Principal Greta Firth and members of the senior leadership team during that time. I built positive relationships with my colleagues, students and the local community. I achieved promotion to the position of Principal at Rangiora High School in 2003 after four very happy and successful years.


Special Character of Rangiora High School

In January 2003 I successfully applied for the position of Principal at Rangiora High School. I was the first woman in 123 years to hold the position. I applied for the Principal’s job at Rangiora High School because our family has close ties with the community and I felt I would be a good fit. I was attracted to the school because of its strong Ex-Pupil Association, its strong tradition and history of educational excellence. Rangiora High School had been a leader in educational innovation in Agriculture, Nursery School care and was the first school in the country to have a working Student Council.

I was one of four people interviewed for the position and the only woman. The Board at that time, led by Chair John Bangma, an old boy of the school, saw in me a person of great professional integrity, passion and commitment, and had faith that talent not gender should determine the appointment of the new Principal. The Board chose me, the first woman to ever lead the 123-year-old school.

In 2009 the composition of the Board changed and in 2014 all that came crashing down when four hostile board members worked together to end my career because it suited them to do so …

to be continued …

Colin Macintosh, Peter Allen, Peggy Burrows

Principals Rangiora High School

rhs principals


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