St Patrick's College, Kilbirnie, Wellington

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St Patrick's College
581 Evans Bay Parade,
New Zealand
Coordinates 41°18′47″S 174°47′46″E / 41.31306°S 174.79611°E / -41.31306; 174.79611Coordinates: 41°18′47″S 174°47′46″E / 41.31306°S 174.79611°E / -41.31306; 174.79611
Type State integrated
Motto Sectare Fidem
('Hold Firm to the Faith')
Established 1885; 133 years ago
Ministry of Education Institution no. 276
Rector Mr Neal Swindells
Grades 913
Gender Boys
School roll 812[1] (August 2018)
Socio-economic decile 8P[2]

St Patrick's College is the oldest Roman Catholic boys' secondary school in New Zealand.[3]


Founded by Archbishop Francis Redwood SM, St Patrick's opened on 1 June 1885 with nine day-boys and twelve boarders.

The College represents one of the earliest educational establishments of the Society of Mary (Marists) the religious congregation whose members accompanied Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier to New Zealand in 1838, and who played a prominent role in the establishment of the Catholic church in New Zealand. The first members of staff, Irish Marists who came principally from the Marist College at Dundalk, established a number of Marist colleges such as St Bede's College, Christchurch and St John's College, Hastings in New Zealand.

Plans in 1931 envisaged the College moving to a more suitable site at Silverstream in the Hutt Valley, but a high demand for education eventually led to a split: the original establishment continued and the boarding section moved to become St Patrick's College, Silverstream, thus allowing room for the expansion of day-student numbers on the Cambridge Terrace site in central Wellington city.

From that time the city college has borne the nickname "St Pat's Town". The two separate Colleges bearing the same name have developed a shared history, and a healthy rivalry; they share the St Patrick's College Old Boy's Association also. In 1979, St Patrick's College shifted from its Cambridge Terrace site to a new facility near Kilbirnie Green in Evans Bay.

The college held its 125th Jubilee over Queen's Birthday Weekend in 2010.[4]


  • Chanel (Blue) – Named after Saint Peter Chanel SM, who came to the Pacific as a missionary.
  • Kennedy (Yellow) – Named after the third Rector of the college, Father David Kennedy SM.
  • Redwood (Red) – Named after an important founder of the college, Archbishop Francis Redwood SM.
  • Watters (Green) – Named after the first Rector of the college, Father Felix Watters SM.
The Chanel house banner.
The Kennedy house banner.
The Redwood house banner.
The Watters house banner.

Educational Philosophy[edit]

St Patrick's College bases its education on Catholic and gospel values embodied in the Marist tradition and philosophy, which regards each student as a unique individual. The school fosters growth within a nurturing and sustaining environment in six facets: spiritual, academic, cultural, emotional, physical and social.

Day by day this means involving all students in religious-education classes, retreats, liturgies and masses designed as participative opportunities for a lively faith suited to the young and involving them at all stages from preparation to celebration.

The Church establishes the resources of the College to assist parents as the "first educators" of their children. The Marist approach to education sees this partnership between the College and parents as fundamental.

Foundational to this philosophy is the Catholic belief that God has created each person as a unique individual with a range of talents. Developing these gifts in the College community means that the school encourages each boy to do his best in every endeavour. The synthesis of this idea with the New Zealand and ANZAC spirit of attempting to achieve the best that can be in all circumstances is shared by many schools.


Aside from the winter and summer tournament weeks, major events on the calendar include:

  • McEvedy Shield – Annual Athletics competition – involving four of the boys' schools in Wellington: Rongotai College, St Patrick's College Wellington and St Patrick's College, Silverstream, and Wellington College. St Pats Town regained the shield in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014.[5]
  • Old Boys' Cup – Annual Athletics competition against brother college St Patrick's Silverstream. St Pat's Town has won 6 of the last 7 years, including 2013.
  • 1st XV Rugby Union season – Involving Rongotai College, Wellington College, Hato Paora College, St John's College, St Patrick's College Silverstream, Francis Douglas Memorial College and St Bedes College (2014 will be the first time the traditional has been played since the 1970s). The Traditional Rugby match between St Pat's Town and Wellington College is recognised as one of the great rivalries in New Zealand secondary school rugby, due to the fact that the two schools were, for nearly a century, in close proximity to each other by the Basin Reserve and also that it is one of the longest standing traditional fixtures in the country, having been played since 1885. As of 2010, Wellington College have won 75 matches, St Pat's have won 43 matches, with 8 matches being drawn. The first rugby game televised live in New Zealand was this traditional fixture, at Athletic Park on 27 June 1967, with St Pat's winning 9–8. The 100th match was drawn 3–3 in 1984.
  • St John's College Sports Exchange – Annual winter sports exchange between the two schools in rugby, basketball, soccer, hockey and badminton. The venue of this event alternates each year, i.e. In 2005 it was held at St Pat's and in 2006 it was held at St John's.
  • St Pat's Silverstream Sports Exchange – Annual winter sports exchange between the two schools in rugby, basketball, soccer, badminton, hockey and cross country running. The venue of this event alternates each year, i.e. In 2005 it was held at St Pat's Silverstream and in 2006 it was held at St Pat's Town and so forth.
  • Wellington College Sports Exchange – Annual winter sports exchange involving the 1st XV rugby team and the 1st XI soccer team. The venue of this event alternates each year: in 2005 it took place at St Pat's Town and in 2006 at Wellington College.

St Pat's Town has produced 17 All Blacks,[6] including two All Black captains, Maurice Brownlie and Jerry Collins. Others include E. Harper, G. McKenzie, T. Lynch, P. Markham, L. Brownlie, P. McCarthy, J. Blake, T. Corkill, A. Mahoney, J. Best (transferred to Silverstream in 1931), R. O'Callaghan, B. Finlay, and M. Berry (1st All Black from Kilbirnie site).[7]

The St. Patrick’s College Rugby Club formally became a member of the Wellington Rugby Football Union on 26 March 1886, with Messrs Saunders and McMahon the first Club delegates to the Union.[8]


Currently the College features prominently in New Zealand Secondary Schools' Basketball. The Senior A team has won the Wellington Secondary Schools Championship in the years: 1963, 1964, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1985, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012. The team has also won the National Secondary Schools Basketball Tournament (The National Championship for High School Basketball) 4 times, in 1971 and 1978 and also winning the title back-to-back in 2007 and 2008 in a team that lost only 4 games over 3 years.[9] The school has also dominated the junior basketball grades in recent history winning the Wellington Junior Championship for 2009 and 2010. The Wellington Saints basketball team has its origins in St Patrick's College.

Season Competition Number of Championships Year
Winter Wellington Premier Championship 18 1963, 1964, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1985, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012
Winter National Championship 4 1971, 1978, 2007, 2008
Total 22
St. Patrick's College Senior A's Face the Wellington College Haka in the final of the Wellington Secondary Schools Final 2008


The college choir, Con Anima, were regular attendees of the national finale between 1999 – 2009. (They would usually receive Silver or Gold Awards)[citation needed] Con Anima, won the national platinum award in 2004. After a 6-year hiatus from making the national finale, Con Anima made the national finale in 2015 where they received a Silver award. In 2018, Con Anima qualified for the national finale where they received a Bronze award. The choir have produced five albums, and sing under the direction of HOD music, Roger Powdrell. Their most recent CD, Jubilation, was launched to commemorate the 125th Jubilee of St Patrick's College. The college has a proud history in the art of A Capella singing, with many significant national placings, including 3 national quartet championships, 3 national chorus championships and 2 chorus silver medals. Most recently, the quartet Fourth Inversion set an international secondary scoring record with an average score of 75.1 in 2015. The Saints Chorus are the three-time 2010, 2011 & 2013 NZ Male Chorus Champions. They attended the 2011 BHS International Youth Chorus Festival in Las Vegas, NV USA, where they placed in the Top 10 and were the highest placed secondary school chorus in this International Contest.[10]

Notable alumni[edit]

The Arts[edit]

Public service[edit]




Notable staff[edit]

  • David Kennedy SM: In 1910 the third Rector, Father Kennedy, together with two Marist seminarians, Joseph Cullen and Ignatius von Gottfried, whom Kennedy had trained, photographed Halley's Comet. Their photographs rank among the best in the world for that passage of the comet: NASA republished them in the United States in 1986. Kennedy continued as Rector until 1917. He held fellowships of the Royal Astronomical and Royal Meteorological societies.
  • Paul Martin SM: Rector 2008 – 2014. Appointed 6 December 2017 as the 10th Bishop of Christchurch.[12]


  1. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 13 September 2018". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  3. ^ "St Patrick's College History". Saint Patrick's College. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
  4. ^ "125th jubilee". St Patrick's College. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
  5. ^ "The Dominion Post – College Sport". Fairfax Media. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Zealand, National Library of New. "Papers Past - Football. (Evening Post, 1886-03-27)". Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  9. ^ Michael Lowe (2 February 2009). "National Finals 08". Retrieved 28 August 2018 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "Saints go marching off in search of barbershop win". Stuff. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Jonathan Millmow". LinkedIn. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  12. ^ "Our Cathedral", Catholic Diocese of Christchurch website (retrieved 1 December 2012)

External links[edit]