Scots College, Wellington

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Scots College
Monorgan Road,
New Zealand
Coordinates 41°19′42″S 174°49′09″E / 41.3284°S 174.8191°E / -41.3284; 174.8191Coordinates: 41°19′42″S 174°49′09″E / 41.3284°S 174.8191°E / -41.3284; 174.8191
Type Private, composite, day and boarding
Motto Virtutem paret doctrina
Let education make the all round man.
Denomination Presbyterian
Established 1916/1918
Ministry of Education Institution no. 281
Headmaster Mr Graeme Yule
Grades 113
Gender Boys
School roll 855[1]
Socio-economic decile 10

Scots College is an independent (private) Presbyterian boys' Years 1 to 13 school located in the suburb of Strathmore Wellington, New Zealand. Under the leadership of an Executive Headmaster, the College comprises three schools, the Preparatory School for Years 1 to 6, the Middle School for Years 7 to 10 and the Senior School for Years 11 to 13. Each school has its own Principal and Staff. Scots College is an IB World College.


It was founded as a Presbyterian boys' college in 1916 by Rev Dr James Gibb and the Hon John Aitken on the current campus of Queen Margaret College in Thorndon, and moved to the present site in Strathmore in 1919. Dr Gibb's vision was the creation of a Christian college that would be independent of the secular state system. It is the 'brother' school of The Scots College in Sydney, Australia and of Queen Margaret College in Thorndon, Wellington.

The college's Scots heritage is reflected in its ceremonies (often involving a piper leading a procession into its hall) and school song. College prefects wear kilts on official occasions and every Friday for chapel. The school tartan is that of the Clan Fergusson. Permission to wear the tartan was granted by the late Governor General Sir Charles Fergusson.

Unlike other prominent New Zealand Presbyterian boys schools Saint Kentigern College in Auckland, and St Andrew's College in Christchurch, Scots College has not become coeducational. This is perhaps, as with Lindisfarne College in Hastings and John McGlashan College in Dunedin, due to the lack of a competing Anglican boys in the local area, such as Auckland's King's College and Christ's College in Christchurch.[original research?]


Students at the secondary school are organized into eight "houses", identified by colour. The houses have expanded three times since the founding of the school- two houses were added to the original two in 1961/1963, another two in 1993 with the boarders' house (Gibb) being removed at this time as well, and a further two added in 2009. There are major competitions in swimming, cross-country, music, athletics, and other weekly house sport games, such as hockey and touch rugby. The two original houses were Aitken (Blue) and Fergusson (Green), with Glasgow (Red) and MacKenzie (Yellow) being established next, followed by Plimmer (Sky Blue) and Uttley (Black) in 1993 and Smith (Navy Blue) and Mawson (Maroon) established in 2009.

The Preparatory School maintains four houses: Potatau (Blue), Bedding (Green), Macarthur (Red) and McKelvie (Yellow). In 2004 there was an announcement of a change to the current House names in the hopes of giving the Preparatory School a better sense of historical identity; Potatau renamed for the writer of the School haka and McKelvie to retain a link to the old McKelvie Baths, demolished in 2001-2002.

Campus facilities[edit]

Recent projects on campus have been the science block, opened in 2006 by Nobel Laureate Sir Paul Nurse and the Aitken (Admin/Reception) block in 2009. Other facilities updated in the last few years include the Leslie Shelly Lecture Theatre and the Information Centre, and an extension to Gibb House, the school's Boarding House. The Hodge Sports Centre (HSC) was opened on 4 November 2011, and the Creative Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) was opened on 2 March 2012.

The school also has IB World School status and maintains an IB curriculum from PYP to Diploma. The current IB Diploma co-ordinator is Michelle Tewkesbury and the MYP co-ordinator is Roger Doig.


The boarding house (titled Gibb House, after the founder of the school) has accommodation for approximately 100 boys. The majority of these students attend the Secondary School (years 9-13) however allowance has been made occasionally for Year 7 and 8 Boys to board full-time. The current boarding director is Geoff Hall, with assistant house masters Malcolm Bradshaw and Will Struthers, and matron Tania Steadman. In addition, gap year tutors are lodged in the boarding house and assist with day-to-day operations. Day Boys and Boarders compete with rival rugby teams on an annual basis.

Connections with other schools[edit]

Scots College 1st XV is currently playing in the Premier I rugby division. In 2014 the 1st XV won the NZ Secondary School Championship - a joint win with Hamilton Boys High School. In 2015 they represented New Zealand at the SANIX Rugby Youth Cup tournament in Japan where they placed third. They currently hold the Moascar Cup which is the oldest and most prestigious nationwide trophy in 1st XV school rugby and dates back to the end of World War One.[citation needed]

Students competing for the 1st XV in traditional fixtures perform a special haka written by an old boy; this is distinct from the school haka.

Scots College is the brother school to the slightly younger Queen Margaret College, which now sites itself in the original Scots College building. Often there are various socials and sporting matches against local schools, organised by College Sport Wellington. In addition, both sections of the school have inter-school fixtures with other secondary schools, notably Lindisfarne and primary schools such as Huntley School.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Steven Adams - basketball player for Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Prof Geoffrey Duncan Chisholm - surgeon[2]
  • John Clarke - satirist
  • Francis Cooke (Scots 1970-78) - LLM Cantab, Queen's Counsel. Credits include the Misrepresentation and Fraud titles of the Laws of New Zealand[3][4]
  • Matt Gauldie (Scots 1988-91) - NZ Defence Force Artist, rank Captain, served Solomon Islands, Nthn France, Afghanistan, East Timor, Antarctica. Artist-in-residence Scots College 2015, many major solo exhibitions and commissions [5][6]
  • Lord Grey of Naunton - last Governor of Northern Ireland (also attended Wellington College)
  • Stu Riddle - footballer
  • Euan Robertson 1948-95 (Scots 1959-66) 880yd Steeplechaser. Olympian 1976 Montreal (w. Walker & Quax) 5th place. Represented NZ: 7 World Championships 1969-83, Commonwealth Games 1974, 1978. Manager & coach NZ cross-country and track teams. NZ record-holder 8:21.08
  • Victor Vito - New Zealand Rugby Sevens international and All Black
  • Rocky Wood - author and freelance journalist
  • Stuart Young (Scots 1968-76) PhD (Cantab). Professor of Theatre Studies, University of Otago. Credits include 3 verbatim plays, transl 6 Chekhov plays, writings on verbatim theatre practice.[7]

Here is a current snapshot of one exceptional classroom of boys:

  • Robert Abernethy (Scots 1962-74) - Manager ICT Business Services, Ministry of Justice; former Manager of Contracts, NZ Telstraclear Ltd.[8]
  • Philip Battersby (Scots 1962-74) - Owner & Director, Cheal Surveying & Planning [9]
  • Philip Cooke (Scots 1964-69) - former Managing Director The Bridge Networks Ltd.[10]
  • George Crowder (Scots 1961-73, Dux 1973) - DPhil Oxon, Professor Politics & Public Policy, Flinders University, Adelaide. Credits include published books on themes: Pluralism, Multiculturalism, Anarchism, Isaiah Berlin [11]
  • Grenville Gaskell (Scots 1970-73) - CEO Wind Energy Assn, former CEO Public Trust, former Director New Zealand Operations, Meridian Energy [12]
  • Byron Harford (Scots 1964-74) - Architect, principal Byron Harford and Associates, London, Milan, Sydney. Credits include major buildings for Foxtel, Sky Italia, Sky News Australia, Sydney Olympic Games and others [13]
  • Paul Healy (Scots 1961-73, Proxime Accessit 1973) - PhD, Professor & Dean, Harvard Business School. Credits include published textbooks and many major articles, awards for teaching excellence [14]
  • Stephen Mazey (Scots 1965-74, Proxime Accessit 1974) - Director M&M Consulting
  • William Moore (Scots 1970-74, Proxime Accessit 1974) - Queen's Service Order 2014, former acting Head of NZ Parliamentary Counsel Office, responsible for the final wording of many of New Zealand's Acts of Parliament [15]
  • Harry Pappafloratos (Scots 1962-74) (d. 2012) - former CEO Colmar Brunton Ltd.[16]
  • Roger Perkins (Scots 1971-74, Proxime Accessit 1974) - Executive Head of Chair and CEO Office at Waitemata District Health Board, private consultant State Services Commission, former Strategic Advisor NZ Film Commission, former Manager Ministry of Culture & Heritage, former Policy Director Ministry of Economic Development [17]
  • Christopher Pottinger (Scots 1964-74) - Consultant Anaesthetist Canterbury DHB, former Deputy Director Anaesthetic Dept Wgton Hosp, former lecturer Wgton Med School [18]
  • Kim Prisk (Scots 1962-69, Dux-Primary 1969) - PhD, DSc, Professor & Head of Admissions, University of California at San Diego Medical School and NASA Laboratory. Credits include monitoring NASA astronauts physical condition in space, NASA Special Achievement Awards, over 100 publications incl Microgravity and the Respiratory System, 2014 [19]
  • Simon Romanos (Scots 1962-74) - conductor, GMD Eternity Opera Wellington. Guest artist: Stuttgart State Opera, English National Ballet, Vienna Chamber Orch, London Mozart Players, radio orchestras Hungary, Yugoslavia, Holland, Sydney, Melbourne, guest festival director Royal Academy of Music London [1][20]
  • Stephen Spencer (Scots 1960-73) - CEO Booker Spalding Ltd.[21]
  • Peter Steel (Scots 1966-69) – former Managing Director SMEC NZ Ltd., former General Manager Engineering & Standards KiwiRail, former Technical Director BECA Ltd., member Weltec/Whitirea Council. Credits include design/engineering Chaffers Marina [22][23]
  • Christopher Tolley (Scots 1964-74) - BSc (Chemical Engineering), M.Econ LSE, Financial Consultant, former principal McAuley Dennehy & Tolley (London)


In November 2007, several graduating students were banned from end-of-year prizes for growing moustaches as part of the fund-raising campaign 'Movember', established by The Movember Foundation, to raise awareness for prostate cancer. The college threatened to ban a senior student from their NCEA examinations (official secondary school qualification) for growing a moustache during November.[24]

In September 2010, Scots College expelled seven students and suspended five for involvement in a drug ring within the college. Some involved in using and dealing the illegal substances were as young as 13.[25]

In October 2013, ten Scots College students from Year 11 to 13, including prefects, were caught illegally consuming alcohol on a school trip to Fiji. School Headmaster Graeme Yule recognised the actions as 'relatively minor' and suspended students for less than a week.[26]


  1. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 2 August 2017". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  2. ^ J A Strong. "Obituary" (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. 
  3. ^ "Mr Francis Cooke QC : New Zealand Bar Association". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Thorndon Chambers • Francis Cooke QC". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Matt Gauldie (2005-04-11). "Matt Gauldie". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  6. ^ "Former student Matt Gauldie returns as Artist in Residence | Scoop News". 2015-04-13. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  7. ^ "Professor Stuart Young". Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  8. ^ "Abernethy LinkedIn". Archived from the original on 2016-12-30. 
  9. ^ "Contract Management - Surveyors NZ | Cheal". Cheal Consultants Ltd. Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  10. ^ Design, Christian Hanvey @ Crunch. "Philip Cooke Steps Down as TBN NZ's MD | The Bridge Networks". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  11. ^ "Flinders University". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  12. ^ "Grenville Gaskell Public Trust Chief Executive | Scoop News". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  13. ^ "BYRON HARFORD & ASSOCIATES". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  14. ^ Healy, Paul M. "Paul M. Healy - Faculty - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  15. ^ "W Moore Acting Chief Parliamentary Counsel annual report 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2015-01-14. 
  16. ^ "Year in Review: Colmar Brunton". 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  17. ^ "Written questions". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  18. ^ "Pottinger, Christopher J | CCDHB". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  19. ^ "UCSD Profiles". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  20. ^ "The Marriage of Figaro | Marriage of Figaro". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  21. ^ "Booker~Spalding - Corporate Clothing and Uniforms for Business". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  22. ^ "Council 2". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  23. ^ "Steel LinkedIn". Archived from the original on 2016-12-30. 
  24. ^ Nichols, Lane (16 November 2007). "No mo or no show at exams". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 16 November 2007. 
  25. ^ Johnston, Kirsty (8 September 2010). "Scots College students expelled for dealing drugs". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  26. ^ Jo Moir (23 October 2013). "College prefects stripped of badges". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 

External links[edit]