Garin College

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Garin College
Garin College Crest.jpg
Small School, Big Heart
35 Champion Rd,
New Zealand
Coordinates 41°20′09″S 173°12′19″E / 41.3357°S 173.2052°E / -41.3357; 173.2052Coordinates: 41°20′09″S 173°12′19″E / 41.3357°S 173.2052°E / -41.3357; 173.2052
Type Integrated secondary (year 9-13) co-ed
Established 2002
Ministry of Education Institution no. 6975
Principal John Boyce
School roll 474[1] (October 2014)
Socio-economic decile 8

Garin College, Nelson is an integrated, co-ed day and boarding secondary school located in Richmond, Nelson, New Zealand. The college was founded in 2002 to serve the Catholic community in, especially, Nelson, Golden Bay and Marlborough. The college first opened on the 28th of January 2002.

The college is named after Father Antoine Marie Garin (1810–1889) who was the founding pastor of the Catholic Church in Nelson. The proprietor of the school is the Catholic Archbishop of Wellington.

Sacred Space[edit]

The 'sacred space' is an area located at Garin College near the D Block building of the school. The 'sacred space' is mostly grass which leads up to a cross which is cemented in a statue of rocks. The space is designed for students to reflect, relax and sometimes pray in the area.

Surrounded by trees main feature of the sacred space is the statue (or Cairn) which built up of an assortment of rocks which were brought by day one students to the school, on the 28th of January 2002. This was all to build a small cairn as a lasting memorial of Garin's opening.


Garin College has four houses. The houses are represented by colours. Siblings enrolled at the college often put in the same house.

  • Aubert = Blue
  • Barbier = Green
  • McKillop = Yellow
  • McAuley = Red

Boarding hostels[edit]

The school has accommodation for up to 60 boarders in two boarding hostels, Francis Douglas House and Mother Teresa House which have been catering for students of the college since 2002.

The Garin College boarding hostels are to serve the Catholic community in the “top of the South”-the region north of a line between Westport and Kaikoura in the South Island of New Zealand.

Third hostel

A third hostel has been proposed, discussed and fund-raised for a number of years, but it is unlikely that it will be built in the near future, as the school is comfortably catering for its existing boarding students. The third hostel is designed to cater for the senior students of the college, most notably students who are in years 12 and 13. It would be a co-ed hostel unlike the two existing ones.[2]


The college's haka was written and performed for the first time in 2006, four years after the school first opened. It was first unveiled to the school and spectators at the 2006 annual Te Wairua o nga Mahi Toi festival. It was the opening act on the 2006 final Mahi Toi night.[3]

Te Wairua o nga Mahi Toi[edit]

Te Wairua O nga Mahi Toi is Maori for 'The spirit of creation in the arts'.

Founded in 2002, the two-day festival is an event where the school's students participate in music, dance and impromptu items. The best items from these two days are selected to perform on the final Mahi Toi night. The Mahi Toi final night is often the last night of the college's second term.

Since then Mahi Toi has found new forms of creativity every year. The college's Maori language teacher Matua Simon Pimm came up with a title that fitted with the new Catholic school and our goal of being extraordinary.


The festival is also a competition between the college's houses (Aubert, Barbier, McAuley and McKillop), in which they collect 'house points' from competing and performing well in items over the two days, and also on the final night. On the Mahi Toi final night the overall house is awarded the 'House Cup', in which Barbier house have won it for 8 years straight since Te Wairua O Nga Mahi Toi's inception in 2002.

Cups are awarded to the 'House Song', and an award is made to the winning 'Whanau Class' which enter's the most events throughout the festival. The Whanau Class Barbier 2 has notably won the award the most times.

The house singing is arguably the most competitive item throughout the festival. The college's four houses put together a rehearsed song of their choice, and change the lyrics to suit their style and often bag the other competing houses.


  1. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 5 November 2014". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2014-12-06. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Boyce, John. "Mahi Toi Opening Address". Retrieved 15 August 2010. 

External links[edit]