St Mary's College

Special Character

St Mary’s College “is a Roman Catholic School in which the whole School community through the general School programme and in its Religious instructions and observances, exercises the right to live and teach the values of Jesus Christ.  These values are as expressed in the Scriptures, and in the practices, worship and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, as determined from time to time by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Wellington”.

From the Integration Agreement between the Crown and The Sisters of Mercy Trust Board 2.3.83


“Let us fit our students for Earth without unfitting them for heaven” Catherine McAuley
The Catholic ethos permeates every aspect of the College culture.
We are committed to educating the whole person, fostering the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and moral growth of each student to help them develop their talents and potential.
The College is also committed to honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi.   In their statement of 1995 our Bishops remind us, “In the Treaty of Waitangi, we find the moral basis for our presence in
Aotearoa New Zealand and a vision that sets this country apart.”



The Early Beginnings of St Mary’s College

St Mary’s is one of the oldest existing schools in New Zealand.  The present College is on the site of St Mary’s School for Girls, opened and blessed by Bishop Viard in 1850 and staffed by four young women.  The early school was attended by children of all denominations.  In 1861 the first Sisters of Mercy came to Wellington. Travelling from Auckland, Mother Mary Bernard Dickson, S.M Augustine Maxwell and a postulant, Marie Deloncle established the Wellington foundation.  They staffed the school and some years later Sisters from Melbourne, England and Ireland joined the Wellington Sisters of Mercy and augmented the staff.  For the full story read:  Wellington 1861 – Crimea’s Nurse to the Rescue at

The outreach in mercy to the vulnerable of her society in Ireland in the 1800s by the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley is at the heart of the charism of the Sisters of Mercy.  This charism influences the values of St Mary’s.  Catherine McAuley’s inspiring story can be read here:


Core Values at St Mary’s College

At St Mary’s College we reflect Jesus’ proclamation of Mercy in the Gospels and seek to live our values:

Manaakitia te tapu o Papatūānuku; te mana o te tangata: Respect for Earth and Human Dignity
Pūaroha: Compassion
Tika: Justice
Āwhinatanga: Service
He atawhai ki te hunga rawakore: Care for the Vulnerable

These values are evident and supported in all aspects of teaching and learning,
in relationships and in the administration of the school.
We seek to enable all our young women to know themselves as made in the image and likeness of God, invited to know Jesus Christ and empowered by the Spirit to venture forth strong in Mercy values to make a difference for good in society.