Samuel Marsden Collegiate School

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Samuel Marsden Collegiate School
Marsden Avenue, Karori, Wellington
Coordinates41°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
TypePrivate composite girls school, years 1-13
MottoAd Summa
Aim For the Highest
Ministry of Education Institution no.280
PrincipalNarelle Umbers
School roll510[1]
Socio-economic decile10

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. Its exam results rank consistently in the top schools in New Zealand. 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]

In January 2018 Narelle Umbers joined Samuel Marsden Collegiate School as Principal. The previous head of the school was Jenny Williams, who returned to Australia in 2017 and before that Gillian Eadie, who retired in 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.

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.

Notable old girls[edit]


  1. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 13 September 2018". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  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. ^ "Samuel Marsden Collegiate School .::. Anne Gambrill". Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  6. ^ "Old Girl receives Queen's Birthday honours". Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Lady June Blundell". Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Katherine Mansfield". Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Sue Kedgley". Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Miranda Harcourt ONZM". Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. Retrieved 17 October 2016.

External links[edit]