St Patrick's College, Kilbirnie, Wellington

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St Patrick's College
581 Evans Bay Parade,
New Zealand
Coordinates41°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
TypeState integrated Catholic Non-profit All-boys secondary education institution
MottoSectare Fidem (Latin)
(Hold Firm to the Faith)
Established1885; 135 years ago
FounderArchbishop Francis Redwood, SM
Ministry of Education Institution no.276
RectorMr Mike Savali
School roll748[1] (March 2020)
Socio-economic decile8P[2]

St Patrick's College is a Roman Catholic boys' secondary school in New Zealand.


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.[3] 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.

Sexual abuse of children[edit]

In 2018, the school stated to Radio New Zealand that it had “no records of sex abuse committed by a priest against boys.”[4] The same article mentions that “some old boys of St Patrick's College Wellington have spoken of being molested by Father Fred (ed: Francis) Durning, who had top positions at the school in the 1940s, 1950s" and in the early 1980s.[4] Father Durning left St Patrick's Silverstream in 1955 to become vice-rector at St Patrick's in Wellington. The Church has accepted that Durning was a known paedophile.[5]

In 2016, St Pats alumni Father Peter Hercock was sentenced to 6 years and 7 months jail for rape and sexual abuse of four Wellington girls during the 1970s and 1980s.[6]

In 2004, in connection with the trial of convicted paedophile and former Marist priest Alan Woodcock, New Zealand Police considered charging Father Fred Bliss and Father Michael “Vince” Curtain—both former staff members of St Patrick’s College Wellington—with complicity in covering up Woodcock's sexual abuse of children at St Patrick's College Silverstream and having him moved on where he was able to continue abusing children.[7] Woodcock was jailed for seven years in 2004 on 21 child sex offences.[8] For related information see, Catholic Church sexual abuse cases in New Zealand.

In a 2002 article in the New Zealand Hearld, a former Marist priest and St Pats staff member Chanel Houlahan, spoke out critically about the Church's approach to dealing with cases of sexual abuse, stating that he was "encouraged by the church's change of heart in confronting sexual abuse, but it now needs to be made safe for the people."[9] The Catholic Church in New Zealand has yet to bring in external audits for child safety practices, two years after promising it would.[10]

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:

  • 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,[11] 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).[12]

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.[13]


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.[14]

Notable alumni[edit]

The Arts[edit]

Public service[edit]




Notable staff[edit]


  1. ^ "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Archived from the original on 24 January 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  3. ^ "History". Saint Patrick's College. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Wellington Catholic school has no records of sex abuse". RNZ. 11 November 2018. Archived from the original on 28 January 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Priest's sexual abuse at Upper Hutt school admitted: It's 'criminal'". RNZ. 24 September 2018. Archived from the original on 28 January 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Former priest jailed over historical sexual abuse of Wellington teenagers". Stuff. Archived from the original on 25 January 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Police may go after the clergymen who hid abuse". The New Zealand Herald. 25 June 2004. Archived from the original on 18 June 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Paedophile former priest gets seven-year jail sentence". The New Zealand Herald. 25 June 2004. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Call in police for abusers says ex-priest". The New Zealand Herald. 28 June 2002. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Two-year wait for Catholic Church to trial promised abuse audit". RNZ. 13 November 2019. Archived from the original on 28 January 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "WelCom | Archdiocese of Wellington". 23 April 2019. Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  13. ^ Zealand, National Library of New. "Papers Past - Football. (Evening Post, 1886-03-27)". Archived from the original on 4 April 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Saints go marching off in search of barbershop win". Stuff. Archived from the original on 20 June 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Jonathan Millmow". LinkedIn. Retrieved 31 August 2018.

External links[edit]