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Marian College, Christchurch was founded in 1982 with the merging of two Catholic secondary schools for girls, St Mary's College (Sisters of Mercy, established in Colombo Street in 1893) and McKillop College (named for Mary MacKillop (St Mary of the Cross)) located in Shirley (founded in 1949 by the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart). Both schools provided boarding and day facilities.[3]

Marian College
122 Barbadoes St,
New Zealand
Coordinates43°30′41″S 172°39′47″E / 43.5115°S 172.6630°E / -43.5115; 172.6630Coordinates: 43°30′41″S 172°39′47″E / 43.5115°S 172.6630°E / -43.5115; 172.6630
TypeIntegrated secondary (year 9–13) single sex, girls
Motto"With Mary in Faith"
Established1982; 37 years ago
Ministry of Education Institution no.343
School roll372[1] (March 2019)
Socio-economic decile8P[2]

It was decided to merge these schools into a larger Catholic secondary day school for girls which would be an integrated school under the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975 and to develop it on the McKillop College site in North Parade. The Catholic Bishop of Christchurch is the proprietor of the college.

Marian College was officially opened on 25 March 1982, the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord.[3] The first principal was Sister Eleanor Capper RSJ who left in 1996.[4] In the subsequent 30 years, Marian College extended its facilities to include an assembly hall/gymnasium, a music suite, library, technology rooms’ and new classrooms. The oldest building was the administration block, which was built in 1914 by a Doctor Louisson and used as a family residence, until it was sold to the Sisters of St Joseph in 1949.[3]

Because of the effects of the 2010 Canterbury earthquake on 4 September 2010 and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake (the February earthquake) on 22 February 2011, the school was relocated for the 2011 school year to St Bede's College, Christchurch and there was also some cooperation with Shirley Boys' High School which is near the school. As a result of the February earthquake and the June 2011 Christchurch earthquake significant liquefaction occurred on the College site resulting in most buildings suffering differential settlement in many areas of up to 215mm. It was therefore decided to relocate the school to the site of Catholic Cathedral College (which has enough surplus capacity to accommodate the school) at 122 Barbadoes Street at the beginning of the 2012 school year for a period expected to be between two and four years.[5] On 15 March 2019, Marian College announced the site for a new location on Lydia Street in Northcote, to be opened in 2023.[6]


  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. ^ a b c Diane Strevens, MacKillop Women: The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart Aotearoa New Zealand 1883–2006, David Ling, Auckland, 2008, p. 230.
  4. ^ Diane Strevens, p. 283.
  5. ^ Report of the Christchurch Catholic Education Office to the Marian College community, 2 August 2012 (retrieved 26 January 2012)
  6. ^ Marian College, Newsletter 15 March 2019 (retrieved 28 March 2019)


  • Mary Declan Burke RSM, Mercy through the years : the centennial history of the Sisters of Mercy, Christchurch Diocese, 1878–1978, Sisters of Mercy Trust Board, Christchurch, 1978.
  • St. Mary’s Schools Christchurch, 1894–1994: A history published for the centennial jubilee, September 1994, St Mary's School, Christchurch, 1994.
  • A Century in pictures : the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart in New Zealand, 1883–1983, Catholic Publications Centre for the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, Auckland, 1983.
  • Anne Marie Power R.S.J., Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart : New Zealand story, 1883–1997, The Sisters, Auckland, 1997.
  • Diane Strevens, MacKillop Women: The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart Aotearoa New Zealand 1883–2006, David Ling, Auckland, 2008.
  • Michael O'Meeghan S.M., Held firm by faith : a history of the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch, 1840–1987, Catholic Diocese of Christchurch, Christchurch, 1988.
  • Michael King, God's farthest outpost : a history of Catholics in New Zealand, Viking, Auckland 1997.