Burnside High School

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Burnside High School
Image: 350 pixels
Image: 350 pixels
Greers Road
Christchurch 8053
New Zealand

Coordinates 43°30′27″S 172°34′34″E / 43.5075°S 172.5762°E / -43.5075; 172.5762Coordinates: 43°30′27″S 172°34′34″E / 43.5075°S 172.5762°E / -43.5075; 172.5762
Funding type State, non-integrated
Motto Latin: Recte Sic Dirige Cursum
(Thus direct thy path aright (In this way direct your course correctly))
Established 1960
Ministry of Education Institution no. 319
Principal Warwick Maguire
Years offered 9–13
Gender Coeducational
School roll 2613[1] (March 2014)

Burnside High School (BHS) (Māori: Waimairi-iri) is a state co-educational secondary school located in the suburb of Burnside in Christchurch, New Zealand. With a roll of 2613 students,[1] it is the largest school in New Zealand outside Auckland, and is among the country's six largest schools.


Burnside High School started construction in 1959. Like many New Zealand state secondary schools opened in the 1960s, Burnside was built to the Nelson common design plan, characterised by two-storey H-shaped classroom blocks of timber construction, of which Burnside has five (A, B, D, E, and F blocks).

A swimming pool was added in 1961, which became fully functional in 1964 after the addition of filtration equipment. The gymnasium was soon constructed afterwards. In 2004 and 2005 construction of a new block, library and administration area began. These were opened in 2006 by Helen Clark, then Prime Minister of New Zealand. The school's fiftieth jubilee was held in 2010, attended by John Key, an ex-pupil and Prime Minister of New Zealand. Following damage caused by the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, Avonside Girls' High School shared the facilities of Burnside High School. Avonside Girls' High School relocated back to their home site in 2012.[2] Burnside High School, due to being relatively undamaged and with power and water restored shortly after the quake, was used as a welfare centre by Civil Defence.[3]

On 28 March 2012 the school was put into lockdown after students reported seeing a man walking the grounds carrying a silver pistol, which was later found by police to be plastic.[4]


Burnside, like many secondary schools in Christchurch, operates an enrolment scheme to help curb roll numbers and prevent overcrowding. The school's home zone, in which students residing are automatically entitled to be enrolled without rejection, covers parts of northwestern Christchurch, roughly bounded in the north by Wairakei Road; in the east by Idris Road, Glandovey Road and Clyde Street; in the south by Creyke Road and Maidstone Road; and in the west by Russley Road (State Highway 1), and includes the suburbs of Burnside and Bryndwr, and parts of Bishopdale, Fendalton, Ilam and Avonhead.[5][6] Students residing outside the zone are accepted as roll places allow per the enrollment scheme order of preference and secret ballot.

At the November 2009 Education Review Office (ERO) review of the school, the school had 2409 students enrolled, including 188 international students. The school roll had an even number of both genders, and its ethnic composition was 69% New Zealand European (Pākehā), 23% Asian, 5% Māori, 1% Pacific Islanders, and 2% Other.[7]


The school is split into four divisions - North, South, West and Senior, the first three consisting of students from Years 9-12 (Equivalent Grade 8 - 11) and Senior division consisting of only Year 13 (Grade 12) students. Each division has a guidance counsellor, three deans and a divisional principal and, in addition, Senior Division includes a careers advisor. The school has a Principal, Second Principal, Assistant Principal, 3 Divisional Principals, 12 deans and 13 Heads of Department.

Current Leadership/Management:

Principal: Warwick Maguire

Second Principal: Sandra Sidaway

Assistant Principal : Alan Robertson

North Divisional Principal: Tim Grocott

West Divisional Principal: Christine Ussher

South Divisional Principal: Richard Barnett

Motto, crest and colours[edit]

The school motto is Recte Sic Dirige Cursum, which means Thus direct thy path aright, or In this way direct your course correctly.

The school's crest is a cabbage tree, due to the historic importance of a group of cabbage palms situated on the school grounds. These trees were used as an important landmark by Maori travellers before European settlement of Canterbury.

The school uniform colours are green and white.

Grounds and facilities[edit]

The school consists of 14 blocks containing classrooms, labeled from A to N, and X, a library and administration building (also containing a sick bay and student office), two gyms, a pool, a canteen, an auditorium that seats 750 people, and numerous sports fields and courts situated on the grounds, which are a total of 16.2 hectares (40 acres) in size.

  • X Block is largely dedicated to computing, holding the central virtualization server, and routers for the school,
  • M Block is the Music and Drama department,
  • N Block is for Art, including a Dark Room; N Block also contains Hospitality, Food and Nutrition and Textiles rooms.
  • K Block is largely for Languages,
  • D Block is for Mathematics (including half of D Block extension),
  • L Block for learning support,
  • C Block for Craft, Wood/Metalwork,
  • I Block for Sciences, downstairs I Block for English,
  • F Block for Senior students (Y13)
  • A block for sciences
  • B block for english

The school has a school-broadcast system designed as an Armed Intruder Lockdown Scheme in the event of a Virginia Tech style school shooting, which informs teachers and students of an armed intruder, and safety measures to be taken to ensure classrooms and buildings are locked down for safety. On March 28, 2012 Burnside High School had a lockdown due to students witnessing a person walking through school grounds with a "gun". The school went into lockdown for approximately 45 minutes until police gave the all clear. The armed offenders squad and police were called in and television crews were outside school gates. It was later revealed that it was only a toy gun and nothing malicious was afoot.[4]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Directory of Schools - as at 1 April 2014". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Sue Hume (July 2011). "Avonside Newsletter 'Tatler' - July 2011" (PDF). Avonside Girls' High School. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  3. ^ "Christchurch Earthquake: What you need to know". nzherald.co.nz. 27 February 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Toy sparks gun scare at school". Stuff.co.nz. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "eLearning Schools Search". Te Kete Ipurangi. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Enrolments". Burnside High School. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Burnside High School Education Review". Education Review Office. 18 January 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "Biography - John Key". Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Rookie Report: Shou Nisbet

External links[edit]