St Thomas of Canterbury College

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St Thomas of Canterbury College
STCC Logo.jpg
69 Middlepark Rd,
Upper Riccarton,
New Zealand
Coordinates43°32′04″S 172°33′24″E / 43.5344°S 172.5566°E / -43.5344; 172.5566Coordinates: 43°32′04″S 172°33′24″E / 43.5344°S 172.5566°E / -43.5344; 172.5566
TypeIntegrated Catholic Boys Secondary (Years 7–13)
MottoVirtute Scientiam Complete
Established6 February 1961; 58 years ago
Ministry of Education Institution no.331
PrincipalSteve Hart
School roll651[1] (March 2019)
Socio-economic decile8P[2]

St Thomas of Canterbury College is a college for year 7 to 13 boys and offers a Catholic education to its students. It is located in Christchurch, New Zealand. The college is integrated into the state education system under an integration agreement which was first entered into by the Christian Brothers (as the proprietors of the college) and the Government of New Zealand on 11 November 1981 under Section 7 of the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975.[3] St Thomas of Canterbury College is located in the Christchurch suburb of Sockburn.


In 2006 the ethnic composition of St Thomas of Canterbury College was New Zealand European/Pākeha 72%, Māori 7%, Samoan 3%, Other Pacifica 1%, Asian 13%, Middle Eastern 2% and Others 2%.[4] The college excels in sporting, cultural, scientific and enterprise[5] activities. Academically, the school offers for senior years the National Certificate of Educational Achievement assessment system (NCEA). The College has an enrolment scheme "to avoid overcrowding, or the likelihood of overcrowding" that gives priority of enrolment to students if they meet the defined criteria of connection with the Catholic faith and live within the Catholic Parishes of Sockburn, Hornby and Darfield, Riccarton, Hoon Hay and Halswell, Leeston, Lincoln and Akaroa. These are generally to the west and south of the city of Christchurch[6]



A Christian Brothers' school in Christchurch was first proposed in the 1880s. The third Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, Patrick Francis Lyons (Bishop 1944–1950) acquired land on Sockburn in West Christchurch and formally invited the Christian Brothers to provide the staff. There was no progress for several years. Eventually Brother Marlow, the Provincial of the Christian Brothers, and Edward Michael Joyce, the fourth Catholic Bishop of Christchurch (Bishop 1950–1964), agreed, and St Thomas of Canterbury College held its first classes on 6 February 1961 (Waitangi Day – not a public holiday then).[7]

Early days[edit]

The initial roll was 99 students in Forms 1–3 (years 7–9). The foundation staff were Brothers James Ignatius McClintock (Principal), Ian T Mahon and Carroll. Brother Simon Germaine Coughlan joined them in 1962. The school expanded its area when eight acres was acquired on the other side of Middle Park Road to be used as sports fields. Later several smaller areas were acquired to extend the fields, provide better access to them from the school, provide changing sheds and to provide a site for a residence for the Brothers. In 1964 Edward Joyce, the Bishop of Christchurch, transferred the ownership of the school to the Christian Brothers. The college obtained scholastic success very early, especially when three students (J.G. Cleary, P.M. Heffernan and K.F. Hosking (Cleary and Hosking were both in the lower sixth form)) obtained Junior National University Scholarships in 1967.[8] The New Zealand Herald commented that this was remarkable as St Thomas of Canterbury College was a new school and it was only the third year that it had an upper sixth form).[9]

2011 earthquake[edit]

Except for minor damage, the college was spared by the Christchurch earthquakes. As a result of the 22 February earthquake in 2011, Catholic Cathedral College relocated to St Thomas of Canterbury College and "site shared". The reason for this was that although it was not significantly damaged, parts of Catholic Cathedral College were under the unstable 400-ton dome of the Christchurch Catholic Cathedral. Because the dome was in imminent danger of collapse, the college had to move. St Thomas' restricted its own use of the school to the morning and Catholic Cathedral College took over the school in the afternoon. The dome was removed on 26 July and Catholic Cathedral College moved back to its own site on 1 August 2011.[10]

Golden jubilee[edit]

In spite of the threat of earthquakes, the college celebrated its Golden Jubilee or 50th anniversary on 6–9 October 2011.[11] "Around three hundred people were present and they revelled in: sports, fire dances, haka, tours, hangi, dancing, food, drink, rugby and spiritual celebrations."[12] The events included a "50th Jubilee Celebration Day" to allow Old Boys to meet the pupils and see the school operating during a school day. An assembly included a Powhiri, Waiata and other songs, a Samoan fire dance, a PowerPoint presentation of the history of the College, the presentation of a time capsule and the cutting of a Jubilee Cake. John Airey, the first student to arrive at the college on 6 February 1961 was presented to the assembly. This was followed by a Hangi. There were sporting competitions with St Kevin's College to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of sporting exchanges between the two Colleges (they started in the school's first year). St Thomas's won the Rugby (54–0), but lost the Basketball (59–57) and the Football (4–0). A cricket match had to be cancelled because of rain. The 50th Celebration Dinner was held at the Showgate Room at Riccarton Raceway Function Centre. Former staff members including Christian Brothers were present. All these events were timed not to clash with games of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The Jubilee Mass was celebrated by Bishop Barry Jones of Christchurch on Sunday 9 October in the St Thomas of Canterbury College hall.[13]

Christian Brothers[edit]

The last Christian Brother involvement on the teaching staff of the college was in the early 2000s, but the Christian Brothers, as proprietors, continued to appoint their representatives to the board under the Private School Conditional Integration Act 1975. In 2019, the Christian Brothers transferred ownership of the college to the Bishop of Christchurch and so ceased, after 58 years, to have any formal institutional connection with the college.[14][15]


The names and colours of the St Thomas of Canterbury College Houses are:


  • Bro J I McClintock: (1961–1966) (Foundation Principal)
  • Bro M B Scanlan: (1967–1972)
  • Bro F C Waigth: (1973–1978)
  • Bro J H Shepherd: (1979–1981)
  • Bro V I Jury: (1982–1987)
  • Bro N C Gillies: (1988–1994)
  • Bro R J Walsh: (1994–2000)
  • Bruce Stevenson: (2001–2007) (first non-Christian Brother principal)
  • Christine O'Neill: (2008–2017)
  • Steve Hart (2018–present)[16]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[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. ^ St Thomas' Jubilee 1961 – 1986, St Thomas of Canterbury Jubilee Committee, Christchurch, 1986, p. 48.
  4. ^ Education Review Report
  5. ^ TKI – Education for Enterprise – St Thomas of Canterbury College
  6. ^ St Thomas of Canterbury College, website. (Retrieved 10 June 2018)
  7. ^ Donaldson, p. 12;
  8. ^ J.C. O'Neill, The History of the Work of the Christian Brothers in New Zealand, unpublished Dip. Ed. thesis, University of Auckland, 1968, pp. 120–126.
  9. ^ "Auckland Grammar Top Scholarship School", The New Zealand Herald, 24 January 1968, p. 2.
  10. ^ "Catholic Cathedral College to go home", Stuff, 11 July 2011. (retrieved 26 January 2012)
  11. ^ St Thomas of Canterbury Newsletter, 29 September 2011, No 28(retrieved 26 January 2012)
  12. ^ "STC 50 Years on", St Thomas of Canterbury College Newsletter, 27 October 2011, No 30, p. 1. (retrieved 27 January 2012)
  13. ^ "Thomas Times Newsletter", St Thomas of Canterbury College, April 2012 (Retrieved 26 February 2013).
  14. ^ Daniel Birchfield, "St Kevin's to change hands", Otago Day Times, 13 June 2019 (Retrieved 21 June 2019)
  15. ^ Jeff Dillon, "Southern college changes ownership after 90 years", NZ Catholic 14 July 2019, p. 3. (Retrieved 6 August 2019)
  16. ^ Emily O'Connell, "New principal for St Thomas of Canterbury College ready to lead", Star, 20 September 2017 (Retrieved 17 December 2017)
  17. ^ "Rugby", St Thomas of Canterbury website (retrieved 19 September 2018)
  18. ^ Mark Garry Hammett at
  19. ^ Hinton, Marc (17 February 2011). "Hurricanes won't change under Hammett". Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  20. ^ Mark Hammett named Cardiff Blues director of rugby


  • J.C. O'Neill, The History of the Work of the Christian Brothers in New Zealand, unpublished Dip. Ed. thesis, University of Auckland, 1968.
  • St Thomas' Jubilee 1961–1986, St Thomas of Canterbury Jubilee Committee, Christchurch, 1986.
  • Paul Malcolm Robertson, Nga Parata Karaitiana The Christian Brothers, A Public Culture in Transition, A Comparative Study of the Indian and New Zealand Provinces, an unpublished thesis for MA in Anthropology, University of Auckland, 1996.
  • Graeme Donaldson, To All Parts of the Kingdom: Christian Brothers In New Zealand 1876–2001, Christian Brothers New Zealand Province, Christchurch, 2001.
  • Education Review Office, Education Review Report: St Thomas of Canterbury College, November 2005

External links[edit]