St Patrick's College, Silverstream

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St. Patrick's College (Silverstream)
207 Fergusson Drive
Silverstream New Zealand
Coordinates41°8′41.84″S 175°0′46.80″E / 41.1449556°S 175.0130000°E / -41.1449556; 175.0130000Coordinates: 41°8′41.84″S 175°0′46.80″E / 41.1449556°S 175.0130000°E / -41.1449556; 175.0130000
TypeIntegrated Boys Secondary (Years 9–13) (Catholic)
MottoSectare Fidem ("Hold Fast to your Faith")
Established1931; 89 years ago
Ministry of Education Institution no.252
RectorGrahame Duffy[1]
School roll731[2] (March 2019)
Socio-economic decile8[3]
Founded byThe Society of Mary, NZ.

St Patrick's College is a state-integrated Catholic boys' day and boarding Secondary School located in Silverstream, Upper Hutt, New Zealand. It was established by the Society of Mary (Marists) in 1931 when the original St Patrick's College, Wellington (established 1885) was intended to be moved to a larger site more suited to a boarding school. In fact both Colleges survived and today share not only a common history, motto and spirit but also a good natured rivalry and competition in many endeavours. Silverstreamers refer to the mother school simply as 'Town'.

The Silverstream College, quite often referred to simply by the suburb title or 'stream', is situated in 7 hectares of grounds between the Hutt River and the Silverstream Railway Station close to the suburbs of Silverstream and Heretaunga. As an integrated school, St Patrick's College is funded by the Society of Mary, Catholic Schools Board Limited and the New Zealand Government.[4]

In the 1980s, St Patrick's record was marred by a member of staff being involved in incidents of sexual abuse involving students. Reports of this sexual abuse were allegedly suppressed by the school Marist priests.[5]

At its foundation much of the original College was transferred from the Wellington site including many of the Marist teachers, much of the memorabilia and the College colours. The brother Colleges today share an Old Boys' Association in recognition of their common heritage. School sports teams have enjoyed success in Rugby union, cricket and athletics. Football, hockey and basketball are popular winter sports at the college. Both Of St Patrick's Colleges also compete against each other in an annual event called “Mc Evedy” similar to the athletics of Old Boys but it is shared with two other schools, Wellington College and Rongotai College. Over the years of the College it has evolved from being primarily a boarding school into a largely day school with a small boarding facility. This demographic shift has resulted from several pressures including the huge increase in number of residents in the local area. In more recent years it has been necessary to cap the roll and introduce an enrolment scheme to ensure an equitable educational outcome for all local pupils. The College celebrated its 75th Jubilee in 2006.

St Patrick's College as a Catholic School bases its educational philosophy on Christian teachings and on the Marist tradition under which the school was founded. In 2012 the St Patrick's College, Silverstream Foundation was established with an inaugural dinner. The Foundation will build a stronger college community where there are many opportunities for Old Boys, staff, parents and friends to become involved in college life.

The Marist Tradition[edit]

The Marist heritage incorporates three characteristic features in education. It stresses the uniqueness and value of the individual person, the importance of the Christian community and the involvement of parents and family in the education of students. This concept stems from the Christian principle that each child is unique, invaluable and created by God. All students have positive and special value and the school endeavours to meet their individual needs and develop their special talents. Teachers aim at formation of the total person so that each becomes free and responsible, an integrated human being. By experiencing the respect and genuine concern of the school community students learn to love and respect others.

The school in 2008 officially changed their house group system. There are now four houses in the school instead of the original 6. they consist of Patrick house, Chanel house, Marist house and the Trinity house. Each of these houses represent one corner of the school's crest.


At the October 2011 Education Review Office (ERO) review, St Patrick's Silverstream had 712 students enrolled. Sixty-six percent of students identified as New Zealand European (Pākehā), 14 percent identified as Māori, ten percent as Pacific Islanders, five percent as Asian, and five percent as another ethnicity.[6]

St Patrick's Silverstream has a socio-economic decile of 8 (step P), meaning it draws its school community from areas of moderately-high socioeconomic status when compared to other New Zealand schools. The school was recategorised from decile 9 (step Q) in January 2015, as part of the nationwide review of deciles following the 2013 census.[3]

Sexual abuse of children[edit]

At least four former priests who taught at St Pats have been identified as paedophiles:

  • Francis Durning, the former rector of the college during the 1950s.[7]
  • AM Donnelly, who taught at St Pat’s from 1968 to 1974[8]
  • Alan Woodcock abused children at St John's College in Hastings, St Patrick's College in Upper Hutt, Highden in the Manawatu and Futuna in Wellington. After he left the Marist Priesthood and left New Zealand to live in England, he was extradited back to New Zealand and was convicted in 2004 of 21 sex offences committed against 11 children between 1978 and 1987 and sentenced to 21 years in prison.[9] The abuse at St Pats Silverstream continued even after being reported to school rector Father Michael “Vince” Curtain and Marist order head Father Fred Bliss. [10] Woodcock was moved to another Catholic institution in Palmerston North by Bliss and he continued to abuse children. Tracking him down abroad was done with the assistance of the Sisters of St Joseph of Nazareth. In the late 1980s, he took up residence in the England, where he was arrested in 2002. [11]
  • Michael Shirres, the celebrated theologian, was exposed by the New Zealand Herald as a paedophile and has admitted to molesting dozens of children. [12]

For related information see, Catholic Church sexual abuse cases in New Zealand.

Notable alumni (old Patricians or Silverstreamers)[edit]

The college encourages former students to join the St. Patrick's College Old Boys Association (SPCOBA). The Association is based in Wellington and caters for Old Boys of both the Silverstream and Town colleges. Notable Old Silverstreamers include (with years attending the college in parentheses where available[13]):


The Arts[edit]



Politics and Public service[edit]

  • Tufuga Efi, Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi – former Prime Minister and head of state of Samoa.
  • Bill English, (1975–1979) – 39th Prime Minister of New Zealand
  • Matthew Tukaki, (1988–1992) – Ex Officio Director of the Board, United Nations Global Compact Board (UNGC), Australian Representative (UNGC), Director of the Boards of Suicide Prevention Australia and the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Pacific Energy Corporation
  • Wayne Guppy, (1968–1972) – Mayor of Upper Hutt
  • Rex S Kirton, (1955–1959) – Mayor of Upper Hutt
  • Mike Minogue, (1940–1942) – Mayor of Hamilton
  • Honourable Ve'ehala, Toluhama Vi, (1979–1982), Tongan hereditary noble
  • Pheroze Jagose, Judge of the High Court of New Zealand



  • John Daniel Bergin, (1933–1937) – neurologist and Second World War veteran (b 1921 d 1995)


  • Blair Cowan, (1999–2003) – Scottish rugby international (2014–)
  • Patrick Hogan, KNZM, CBE – Race horse trainer and breeder
  • Joe Karam (1964–1968) – All Black (1972–75) 10 tests
  • Harry Dale Kent, (1960–1963) – world champion cyclist, Gold Medalist 1970 Commonwealth Games, 1970 NZ Sportsman of the Year
  • Earle Kirton – All Black (1963-1970), 13 tests
  • John Leslie, (1984–1988) – Otago and Scottish rugby union player
  • Martin Leslie, (1985–1989) – rugby union player, Scottish national team
  • Simon Mannix, (1985–1989) – All Black (1994) 1 test
  • Aaron Persico (1992–1996) – rugby union player, Italian national team
  • Scott Waldrom, (1994–1998) – All Black (2008)
  • Thomas Waldrom, (1996–2000) – England Rugby Test Player (2012)

List of Former Rectors[edit]

The school Principal of the college is called the Rector. To be Rector of St. Patricks College, Silverstream it is a requirement that the person is a Baptised Catholic or a consecrated Marist. Very few New Zealand Catholic schools at this time have a Priest, or Religious Brother or Sister as the leader of their school.

  • Very Rev. Father John W Dowling, SM, MA, AFRES (1931–1937)
  • Very Rev. Father John J Kennedy, SM, MA (1938–1943)
  • Very Rev. Father Leo R Evatt, SM, BA, QSM (1944–1949)
  • Very Rev. Father Francis A Durning, SM, MA (1950–1955), known paedophile[15]
  • Very Rev. Father Maurice Bourke, SM, BA (1956–1961)
  • Very Rev. Father John R Parker SM, MA (1962–1966)
  • Very Rev. Father Kevin A O'Conner SM, BSc ANZIC (1967)
  • Very Rev. Father Gerard P Gill, SM BA (1968–1970)
  • Very Rev. Father Patrick F Minto SM, BA (1971–1974)
  • Very Rev. Father Frederick M Bliss SM, MA (CUA), BA (Vic), LTCL (1974–1980)
  • Very Rev. Father Michael V Curtain, SM, BA (1981–1987)
  • Very Rev. Father James T Dooley, SM, BA, BSc (1987–1993)
  • Mr. David P Leavy, BA, BEd (Liverpool), DipEd (1994–2006)
  • Mr. Philip Mahoney, BSc, PGDip Theol&Spir, MEdL (2006–2010) – Resigned from Ordained Ministry prior to appointment.
  • Mr. Gerard Tully, BPhED, BSc, Dip Tchg (2011–2017)


  1. ^ "Appointment of new college rector in 2018" (PDF). St. Patrick's College. 16 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 3 April 2019". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  4. ^ St. Patrick's College (Silverstream) Parents' Handbook 2014
  5. ^ Gardner, Alan (26 June 2004). "Police may go after the clergymen who hid abuse". The New Zealand Herald.
  6. ^ "St Patrick's College (Silverstream) Education Review". Education Review Office. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Priest's sexual abuse at Upper Hutt school admitted: It's 'criminal'". RNZ. 24 September 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  8. ^ " » Sexual abuse: police investigating former priest who taught at St Pat's Silverstream". Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  9. ^ Newbold, Greg (3 June 2016). Crime, Law and Justice in New Zealand. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-27561-9.
  10. ^ "Police may go after the clergymen who hid abuse". NZ Herald. 25 June 2004. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Sex abuser's sisters bring him home to face justice". NZ Herald. 21 May 2004. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  12. ^ Hall, Mick (28 August 2018). "Catholic church knew of abuse claims against paedophile priest Michael Shirres for 28 years". NZ Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  13. ^ St Patrick's College Old Boys Association Records (2014)
  14. ^ "Fr John Larsen elected to top post in the Society of Mary". CathNews New Zealand. 2 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Priest's sexual abuse at Upper Hutt school admitted: It's 'criminal'". RNZ. 24 September 2018. Retrieved 25 January 2020.