Columba College

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Columba College
Coláiste Choilm
399 Highgate, Dunedin
Coordinates 45°51′47″S 170°29′40″E / 45.863125°S 170.494375°E / -45.863125; 170.494375Coordinates: 45°51′47″S 170°29′40″E / 45.863125°S 170.494375°E / -45.863125; 170.494375
Type Integrated single sex girls secondary(Year 7-13) co-education primary(Year 1-6)
Motto Gratia et Disciplina Bona
"Grace and Good Discipline"
Established 1915
Ministry of Education Institution no. 386
Principal Elizabeth Wilson
School roll 650
Socio-economic decile 10

Columba College (Irish: Coláiste Choilm) is an integrated presbyterian school in Roslyn, Dunedin, New Zealand. The roll is made up of pupils of all ages. The majority of pupils are in the girls secondary, day and boarding school, but there is also a primary school consisting of boys and girls in years 1-6.

Modern day Columba[edit]

The school uniform is formal and compulsory for all pupils, currently consisting of; a green blazer, white shirt, navy blue jersey, with Black Watch tartan necktie and kilt. Columba has four school houses, Braemar (Green), Girton (Red), Iona (Blue) and Solway (Yellow) named for the founding schools and Saint Columba.

Based on NCEA results, Columba College is one of the highest achieving schools in New Zealand. Its motto is "Gratia et Disciplina Bona" meaning Grace and Good Discipline. It is one of the few schools in Dunedin to teach Mandarin, and has recently built an award-winning gymnasium on the school grounds. Three mornings during the week, the school congregates in Constance Hall (that has been recently renovated) for Assembly. It is during this time that congratulations and awards are handed out, as well as general notices. Tuesday assemblies are chapel services, conducted by Reverend Barry Kelk. Assemblies are commonly used to recognise student achievements.

Year 13 is the last year students reach before heading on to tertiary education. Students in this year level are of ages 16–18, and are given access to a private residence owned by Columba College on the premises. At the end of the school year, they often choose to buy a ring of the school emblem, symbolising the part of their life spent at Columba. Students may also leave school at the end of Year 12, but most opt to remain for Year 13.

Columba College is the "sister school" of local boys school John McGlashan College.


Bishopscourt building, a Category I Historic Place

Columba College was established in 1915 by the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand as a private day and boarding school for girls with co-educational primary classes and a kindergarten. The Rev'd Alexander Whyte was a key figure in the foundation of Columba College, through his vision for a Presbyterian girls school.

Columba College was created from two earlier Dunedin girls' schools, Girton College and Braemar House. The headmistress of Girton College, Frances Ross, purchased Braemar House and became the first Head Mistress of Columba College. The schools moved to the current site, at Bishopscourt, a property purchased from the first Anglican bishop for Otago and Southland, Bishop Nevill which had a large house on it designed by William Mason (architect) built in 1872.

Columba College became integrated as a composite school under the terms of the Private Schools' Integration Act in 1994.

Clubs and committees[edit]

  • Amnesty International
  • Christian Action Group
  • Craft Club
  • Creative Writing Club
  • School Council
  • Debating Club
  • Environmental Club/Enviroschools Committee
  • Health Promoting Schools Committee
  • International Club/International Club Committee
  • Latin Club
  • SADD (Students Against Driving Drunk)
  • Dance Club
  • Drama Club
  • Running Club
  • Spanish Club
  • Book Club
  • Film Club
  • Choir
  • Tramping Club

Boarding facilities[edit]

Attached to the school are boarding facilities, catering for approximately 100 international and domestic students from years 7 to 13. Students live in one of two on-campus buildings, Katharine Buchan House (years 12 to 13) or Bishopscourt (years 7 to 11). Boarders experience not only the benefits of the Marsh Sports Centre gym and the tennis and netball courts, but also attend Church and a formal lunch on Sunday, as well as the popular "Midwinter Christmas" event in the third term.

Notable alumnae[edit]

In November 2007, Columba College inaugurated the first laureates into their Business Hall of Fame. These laureates were:

  • Miranda Caird - mortgage broker
  • Amanda Ellis - World Bank gender specialist
  • Sue Stevely-Cole - early childhood centre director

The Business Hall of Fame will continue to acknowledge up to three laureates a year, from 2007 on.[1]


  1. ^ "Inaugural inductees into Hall of Fame". Columba College. Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]