Samuel Marsden Collegiate School

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Samuel Marsden Collegiate School
Marsden Avenue, Karori, Wellington
Coordinates 41°16′59″S 174°44′38″E / 41.2831°S 174.7440°E / -41.2831; 174.7440Coordinates: 41°16′59″S 174°44′38″E / 41.2831°S 174.7440°E / -41.2831; 174.7440
Type Private composite girls school, years 1-13
Motto Ad Summa
Aim For the Highest
Established 1878
Ministry of Education Institution no. 280
Principal Jenny Williams
School roll 475[1]
Socio-economic decile 10

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School is located in the Wellington suburb of Karori in New Zealand. It has a socio-economic decile of 10 and provides private year 1 to 13 education for girls, with a co-educational Preschool. It is renowned for being an academic school with exam results ranking consistently in the top schools throughout New Zealand. The school has also got strong sporting and music programmes and innovative programmes that encourage creativity and entrepreneurship at all levels. Coding is taught from year 1. Samuel Marsden Collegiate School students complete the New Zealand National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) but the school also offers Cambridge A-Level exams in certain subjects.[2]


The school is named after the Anglican Missionary Samuel Marsden. It was established in 1878 by Mrs Mary Ann Swainson as a day and boarding school for girls from Wellington and the surrounding areas. The school was originally known as the Fitzherbert Terrace School, and Esther Mary Baber was for many years the headmistress.[3] In 1920, the school was bought by the Anglican Diocese of Wellington, and moved to Karori in 1926. Samuel Marsden Collegiate has had 11 principals, only one of whom, Rev. Gerald Clark, has been male.

Present day[edit]

The current head of the school is Jenny Williams, who has moved from Australia. The previous head was Gillian Eadie, who retired after the first term of 2008.

Marsden, as the school is often called, currently has around 500 students. In 2006 it was split from 3 to 4 'schools', the Marsden Primary (previously known as the Lower School), Middle School, Upper School and Senior School. Marsden now has five schools: Preschool, Marsden Primary, Middle School, Upper School and Senior School. In practice the latter three schools are treated as one, often just referred to as the 'upper school'.

The upper school consists of six houses: Swainson-Riddiford, Baber, Hadfield-Beere, Richmond, Jellicoe and Johnson, all named after friends and benefactors of the school. Girls are placed in houses arbitrarily except when closely related to an old girl, in which case they are placed in the same house as their relative. The Lower School (Marsden Primary) has three separate houses, Sprott, Innes and Fitzherbert, again reflecting the school's history.

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School offers a large variety of subjects, cultural and sporting activities and is a school rich in tradition. The predominantly green uniform, must be worn both correctly and with pride. Girls must wear their hair tied up, are not allowed to wear makeup or jewellery. Assembly occurs twice a week, on Monday and Thursday, and incorporates both religious and ethical themes.

Marsden's calendar is made up of a number of large events including Athletic Sports, Swimming Sports, House Music, House Sport, Old Girls' Weekend, Carol Service, Prize-giving, Toy Service and various balls at different year levels. Students are taught to cultivate a sense of occasion and for the 125th birthday of Samuel Marsden Collegiate School they paraded through Wellington to the steps of Parliament before a celebratory concert in Wellington Town Hall, where the end of year Leavers' Ball for graduating year 13 students has been held.

The school was an early adopter of technology and won the New Zealand Computer Institutes Award for Excellence in the use of IT in Schools: Secondary and Primary in 2000.

Marsden Whitby[edit]

Established as Whitby Independent College in January 2004, on the site of the old Duck Creek Golf Course, the school was subsequently bought by Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in 2005 and renamed Marsden Whitby. Marsden Whitby's houses bear no relation to the long history of the Karori school, instead carrying the nautical theme that the suburb of Whitby is known for - Endeavour, Resolution, Discovery and Adventure.

Marsden Whitby also differs from the older school because it is the only independent co-educational high school in the Wellington region. Construction of a new classroom block was completed in early 2007 to support the rapidly growing enrollment. Students have access to specialist teaching spaces, science and technology laboratories, art and music rooms, and a dedicated Library. The Bradford Gymnasium, opened in 2010, houses full-sized basketball, netball and volleyball courts, as well as four badminton courts. As a small school (under 200 students), every student is known individually and there is a strong pastoral care network.

Marsden Whitby is starting to set its own traditions such as House Music, House Drama, Prize Giving, Athletics and more are on the way. The school is becoming less dependent on the Karori school, although there are some shared events, such as the Year 10 Imaginarium.

Notable old girls[edit]


  1. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 6 March 2017". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 10 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. Samuel Marsden Collegiate School  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Alington, Margaret (1 September 2010). "Esther Mary Baber - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "(Isabel) Noeline Baker". Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "Old Girl receives Queen's Birthday honours". Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "Lady June Blundell". Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "Katherine Mansfield". Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "Sue Kedgley". Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  9. ^ "Miranda Harcourt ONZM". Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 

External links[edit]