Onslow College

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Onslow College
Aerial photo of the school grounds
Onslow College and surrounds
Burma Road,
New Zealand
Coordinates 41°13′51″S 174°47′49″E / 41.2307°S 174.7970°E / -41.2307; 174.7970Coordinates: 41°13′51″S 174°47′49″E / 41.2307°S 174.7970°E / -41.2307; 174.7970
Type State co-ed secondary Year 9&13
Motto Latin: Levavi oculos meos in montes
Māori: Ka anga atu aku kanohi ki nga maunga
Lift your eyes to the hills
Established 1956
Ministry of Education Institution no. 269
Principal Mr. Peter Leggat
School roll 1276[1] (February 2018)
Socio-economic decile 10Z[2]

Onslow College is a state co-educational secondary school located in Johnsonville, a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand. The school opened in 1956 to serve the city's rapidly growing northern suburbs. The current principal is Mr Peter Leggat.[3]

The Onslow Way[edit]

The Onslow Way differentiates Onslow College from other schools in that the college does not have prefects, Head Boys or Girls or college houses.

To replace the 'responsibility void' left by lack of a prefect system, Onslow College has championed the peer mediation system, where trained students talk to their peers about incidents that have occurred at school, such as bullying, isolation or drug use. This allows students to feel more comfortable while discussing these issues, without fear of retribution which invariably arises in a staff member's presence.

Students also have a large say in the running of the school. Each form class elects one or two representatives to a year level council, which then in turn appoint representatives to the school student council. Students can also put their own names forward for nomination for the board of trustees. The student members of the board of trustees are appointed by a vote by the entire student body.

Students also sit on panels for job applicants, property matters, and many other facets of the running of the school.

The Onslow Way is also identified by students as a reference to the style in which the school encompasses, of being a liberal school which encourages individuality and self-expression. Because of this, Onslow has strength in the creative arts and supports a very popular music department and high numbers of students taking part in drama, art and photography as NCEA classes.

Uniform policy[edit]

Onslow College is one of only two state secondary schools within the Wellington region (the other being Wellington High School) that has no officially enforced dress code.[4] The uniform code was removed after protest by the students during the late 60s and early 70s. Uniforms were seen by the students as a waste of their teachers' time and were slowly but eventually removed in stages; with the gloves and hats being the first to be removed. A school‑wide student strike was the major turning point in the removal of the uniform, an event which was attributed to the college's individuality and its unique 'Onslow Way'. Students only have to abide by the "non-offensive rule" in which clothing items must not contain offensive images.

Prefect system[edit]

Onslow College has no prefect system as well as no Head Boy nor Head Girl: it was seen as anti‑democratic. Onslow was also one of the first schools to acquire a Student Council; to promote the students' concerns and views onto the Board of Trustees.


On 13 February 1997, 18-year-old former student Nicholas Hawker murdered 15-year-old St Mary's College student Vanessa Woodman on the school's grounds. Woodman was strangled, had her throat slit, and was stabbed 32 times. Hawker was sentenced to life imprisonment with a 10-year non-parole period.[5]

Notable alumni[edit]


The Arts[edit]

Broadcasting and journalism[edit]

  • Andrew Mulligan – television host of The Crowd Goes Wild and SKY TV Sports Presenter
  • Warwick Slow – radio DJ
  • Ian Wishart – editor Investigate magazine
  • Rocky Wood – non-fiction author and freelance journalist

Public service[edit]



  1. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 14 March 2018". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 20 March 2018. 
  2. ^ "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Onslow College Newsletter" (PDF). June 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ Onslow College General Rules Archived 25 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Reid, Neil (27 September 2009). "Victim's mum fights killer's freedom bid". Sunday News (via Stuff.co.nz). Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Mail-sorting poet wins NZ's richest literary prize". Stuff. 16 March 2008. 
  7. ^ "Chris Graham – Biography". nzonscreen.com. 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 
  8. ^ Catherall, Sarah (10 December 2014). "My secret Wellington: Taika Waititi". Fairfax New Zealand. 
  9. ^ Georgina Beyer
  10. ^ The Georgina Beyer story ... how a change for the better came about Archived 31 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]