St John's College, Hastings

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St John's College
Coordinates39°38′22″S 176°51′22″E / 39.63944°S 176.85611°E / -39.63944; 176.85611Coordinates: 39°38′22″S 176°51′22″E / 39.63944°S 176.85611°E / -39.63944; 176.85611
TypeState Integrated, Single-sex, Day, Secondary (Year 9–13)
Established1941; 79 years ago
Ministry of Education Institution no.226
PrincipalPaul Melloy
Employees~ 35 (full time)
Colour(s)Maroon, blue and white
School roll381[1] (March 2019)
Socio-economic decile4K[2]

St John's College is a State Integrated, Catholic, Day School for boys, located in Hastings, a provincial city in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

Founded in 1941 by the Marist Fathers, St John's College has a non-selective enrolment policy (although gives preference to students from Catholic families) and currently caters for approximately 450 students from Year 9 (3rd Form) to Year 13 (7th Form).

St John's College has a diverse, multicultural roll. In 2006 its ethnic composition was Pākehā 73%, Māori 23%, and Pacific 4% .[3] The college excels in sporting and cultural activities. Academically, the school offers for senior years the National Certificate of Educational Achievement assessment system (NCEA).

St John's College is the oldest private/state integrated secondary for boys in New Zealand outside the traditional main centres of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin (Te Aute College, also in Hawke's Bay was previously the title holder but became coed during the 1990s).


St John's College was established in 1941, on Frederick St, Hastings (the current site of St Mary's Primary School). It was founded by the Marist Fathers in response to the lack of Catholic education for young men in Hawkes Bay. It was also to be a brother school to the already established all girls Sacred Heart College, Napier, some 20 km north.

Enrolment proved so popular that the school needed to expand, so in 1956, with an allotment of donated land, St John's College moved to its present site on Jervois St, Mayfair. Old boys recall that on the day of the move, they carried the school furniture, back and forth to the new premises over 3 km away, and still had to attend afternoon class. The roll grew more slowly after that. Part of the problem was the transportation of students from around the Hawkes Bay region as many students from Napier found it difficult to reach school before school bus lines were established. There were even calls to make both Sacred Heart and St Johns co-ed, to prevent Napier boys travelling to Hastings and Hastings girls travelling to Napier. Today this issue is non-existent, although around 40% of St John's College students come from the Napier area.

In 1975, St John's College was "integrated" into the state system under the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975[4] "on a basis which will preserve and safeguard the special character of the education provided by them".

Over time St John's quietly expanded with the addition of new buildings and land. The 1990s saw drastic changes with the completion of 'The Centre' (the school gymnasium), the music suite and geography room, and the purchase of the old Firth industrial land to expand the playing fields. This gave St John's an additional rugby field, a new area for cricket nets, and another drive way towards Karamu road with additional car spaces. Since 2000 several remodels have been undertaken and includes the construction of the new technology wing.

St John's College celebrated its 50th Jubilee in 1991 which was easily the colleges biggest event ever. An abundance of old boys returned for the weekend and included several speakers and functions as well as a variety of activities and inter house competitions for the students.

In May 2014, the school suspended student Lucan Battison over the length of his hair.[5] The family took the school to the High Court,[6] where they won against the school.[7]


St John's College is situated on Jervois St, Mayfair, in Hastings' northern suburbs. The site layout has all academic buildings close to the main road and are named after former rectors of the school, for example 'The Dowling Block' which contains the Library and Humanities subjects. Behind the buildings are the school playing fields, which separate the swimming pool and the tennis courts from the academic areas.


Current facilities of St John's include:

  • 'The Centre', which is a gymnasium used for sports, games and physical education (PE) classes. Also used as the venue for weekly Wednesday assemblies and other official school occasions such as college masses and the Year 12 Leavers' Mass.
  • The Kenneth Guthrie Pool, located at the rear of the school property, next to the tennis courts.
  • Playing Fields, which consists of a variety of interconnected fields containing two rugby fields, a cricket pitch and soccer field, field hockey students practice at Park Island Sports Ground in Napier.

St John's tradition[edit]


The school crest incorporates four symbols. It incorporates the major elements of Archbishop Redwood's Crest the star and the AM as well as the "Redwood Cross" i.e. the cross on top of a pile of rocks. The five 5 pointed stars that sits in the upper left side representing the Virgin Mary; originally the star was a six-pointed star but quickly was corrected into the correct version. The second is the cross that appears on the right side of the crest. It is the Calvary Cross, which represents the place where Jesus was crucified while also representing Christianity. Third directly below the star, is an A imposed over an M, a common symbol for Ave Maria, which is Latin for Hail Mary. The fourth is the Eagle situated across the top section of the shield, which represents St John. In the shield's compartment is the College's motto.

House system[edit]

The current house system was bought into the College in 1999, and was named after early Catholic missionaries who came to New Zealand. All except Redwood are French, and staff and students pronounce them in the traditional ways. The names and colours of the St John's College Houses are:

  • Colin – green
  • Forest – yellow
  • Redwood – red
  • Reignier – blue


Academic results[edit]

The number of students achieving national qualifications is well above the national mean for similar decile schools at all levels of NCEA. The percentage of students obtaining NCEA Level 1 increased from 61% in 2003 to 66% in 2004. Levels of attainment in the literacy requirement have recently improved to the current level of over 91%. Achievement in university entrance results has steadily improved over the past three years and is above the national average for schools at this decile level. The percentage of Year 12 Māori students leaving school with qualifications is well above the national rates for schools in this decile. Retention of Māori students to complete their Year 12 studies is high.[8]



Playing a winter sport is compulsory for junior students (Year 9 and 10) to encourage social integration into the college environment. Although sport is not compulsory in the senior years, the majority of seniors participate in sport with large numbers competing in the Summer sports offered. Rugby is the most popular sport at the college and enjoys a large following from St John's old boys. There are at least 8 teams, which does not include special teams selected for events like the Under 15s tournament and the Father Fisher trophy. Soccer is widely played at the college, and with hockey make up the rest of the majority of winter sport participants. There are also teams for basketball, badminton, squash, table tennis, athletics, swimming, tennis, orienteering, canoe polo and touch. Cricket is by far the largest sport during the summer. The Cricket teams are usually divided into Hastings or Napier teams in lower grades.

Many inter school sporting events take place, most notably with Catholic schools around the lower North Island. The main rivalry remains with other Marist Schools St Pat's Silverstream and St Pat's Town in Wellington, Hato Paora in the Manawatu, and St Johns in Hamilton.


As a Catholic school, religion plays an important factor in the day-to-day lives of St John's College students. As well as participating in Masses and Chapel, prayers are formally conducted at staff meetings, in form classes to start the day, at assemblies and at school meetings.

Kapa Haka[edit]

St John's College has a long and proud tradition of Kapa haka. Along with Māori studies, students actively participate in Māori cultural activities like the inter house Haka competition.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 3 April 2019". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Education Review Report". Education Review Office. February 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2008.[dead link]
  4. ^ "Education Review Report". Education Review Office. February 2006. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  5. ^ Tweets over suspended student lands schoolgirl in hotwater
  6. ^ Back to school for boy while judge ponders long hair
  7. ^ Lucan Battison wins long-hair court battle
  8. ^ "Education Review Report". Education Review Office. February 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2008.[dead link]

External links[edit]