St Mary's College, Auckland

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St Mary's College
11 New Street, Ponsonby

Coordinates36°50′47″S 174°44′54″E / 36.8463°S 174.7484°E / -36.8463; 174.7484Coordinates: 36°50′47″S 174°44′54″E / 36.8463°S 174.7484°E / -36.8463; 174.7484
TypeState-integrated secondary
MottoMater Misericordiæ
(Mother of mercy)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Established1850; 169 years ago
Ministry of Education Institution no.50
PrincipalBernadette Stockman
School roll1030[1] (August 2018)
Socio-economic decile8P[2]

St Mary's College is a year 7 - 13 integrated Catholic girls' high school situated at 11 New Street, Ponsonby, Auckland in New Zealand. It was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1850 and is the oldest existing school in central Auckland.


St Mary’s College is the oldest existing secondary school for girls in Auckland and one of the oldest existing schools in New Zealand. It was established in 1850 on the site of the present St Patrick's Cathedral, in Wyndham Street by the Sisters of Mercy, who were founded in Ireland by Catherine McAuley in 1831. The Sisters of Mercy were the first religious sisters to come to Aotearoa New Zealand, arriving in Auckland from Ireland on 9 April 1850.

A large new convent was built in Ponsonby, on a splendid site overlooking the Waitemata Harbour and the central business district of Auckland City and the school was shifted there in 1861.

St Mary’s College has always had an excellent academic record and high achievement in Music and Sport. Its musical tradition goes back to the 1860s. During the 20th Century, under the outstanding direction of the late Dame Sister Mary Leo, the school produced many singers of international fame, notably Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Mina Foley. The school is known for its music with a compulsory music programme running from year 7-9. At St Mary's the school believes that music enhances the mind. They have a number of bands which play at festivals all around the world. In 2005 the Sinfonia was invited to play at the Beijing Arts Festival in China. In 2006 the school's band went to Palm Springs, CA for a music festival.

The Mercy character continues to be a dominant focus of the school's ethos. The college is still owned by the Sisters of Mercy who have established a Board of Directors which works in conjunction with the Board of Trustees to ensure that the Catholic character of the school is not only maintained but enhanced and promoted.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  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.


  • A.G Butchers, Young New Zealand, Coulls Somerville Wilkie Ltd, Dunedin, 1929.
  • E.R. Simmons, In Cruce Salus, A History of the Diocese of Auckland 1848 - 1980, Catholic Publication Centre, Auckland 1982.
  • Margaret Lovell-Smith, The Enigma of Sister Mary Leo:, Reed, Auckland, 1998.
  • Nicholas Reid, James Michael Liston: A Life, Victoria University Press, Wellington, 2006.
  • Jenny Carlyon & Diana Morrow, Urban Village: The Story of Ponsonby, Freemans Bay and St Mary's Bay, Random House, Auckland, 2008.

External links[edit]