Mount Roskill Grammar School

Mount Roskill Grammar School is a secondary school in the suburb of Mount Roskill, Auckland. Officially opened in 1953,[3] the school is widely regarded as one of the most diverse schools in Auckland, having students of over 70 different nationalities including approximately 120 International students. The school has been noted by media for its rising academic success and exceptional performance for its low socio-economic decile.[4]

Mount Roskill Grammar School
Mount Roskill Grammar School logo.jpg
Frost Road,
Mt Roskill,
New Zealand
Coordinates36°54′43″S 174°44′53″E / 36.911959°S 174.747945°E / -36.911959; 174.747945Coordinates: 36°54′43″S 174°44′53″E / 36.911959°S 174.747945°E / -36.911959; 174.747945
TypeState co-educational secondary (Year 9-13)
To the Heights
Ministry of Education Institution no.74
PrincipalGreg Watson
School roll1797[1] (March 2022)
Socio-economic decile4[2]


In 1957 the school was granted its own board of governors and adopted the emblem of the Phoenix with the motto 'Sursum' meaning 'To the Heights'. The Phoenix was chosen for its symbolism of the pursuit of excellence and periodic renewal and revitalization.


The school is widely known as one of the most diverse in New Zealand. The school roll has an ethnic composition of 26% Indian, 16% Chinese, 13% Pākehā, 11% Tongan, 8% Samoan, 6% Māori, 3% South East Asian, 3% African, 2% Cook Island Māori, and 12% other.[5]


The school has had several structural improvements, such as the construction of new buildings such as the Science Block, the Maclean Centre, T-Block, renovation of H-Block (including the Year 13 Common Room - a room with lockers, kitchen appliances, and recreation features dedicated to final year students), and the new gymnasium and classrooms. At the end of 2009, a new Pastoral Care Centre was built and opened in 2010.[6] Rebuilding of the school's C-Block finished late 2010. In 2016, the new Olympic-grade hockey turf was completed.

The Maclean CentreEdit

The Maclean Centre for disabled students was opened in 1977, named in honour of Mr B H Maclean, Principal from 1966 to 1981. The Centre moved into a new building in 2003 and the staff and students are fully involved in all areas of school life.


The school has a very proud academic record, with top scholarship results comparable to other higher-decile schools in Auckland, despite the fact that it is a decile 4 school. Mount Roskill Grammar School has been described by the New Zealand Herald in 2007 as the "best public school in New Zealand".[4] In 2009 Metro Magazine has also ranked MRGS as the top school in Auckland, saying "Mt Roskill is not uniquely gifted; it has to work hard to get the results it does. But it was in the top 10 for every indicator we looked at, and usually, it was first or second. In general, its academic results were what you would expect of a decile-9 school.".[7]

The school has 10 computer labs[8] catering for students from Year 9-13. Mount Roskill Grammar operates under a strict contract, which every student signs, so that these technologies are not abused. Mount Roskill Grammar is also one of the schools participating in the Phase 2 of the Beacon Practice from GIF Technology Education initiative.[9]

In 2013, 90.7 percent of students leaving Mount Roskill Grammar held at least NCEA Level 1, 82.5 percent held at least NCEA Level 2, and 58.3 percent held at least University Entrance. This is compared to 85.2%, 74.2%, and 49.0% respectively for all students nationally.[10]


Name Term
1 Victor Claude Butler 1953–1965
2 Bruce Home MacLean 1966–1981
3 Charles John James Dowdle 1982–1989
4 Colin John Prentice 1989–1994
5 Ken B. Rapson 1994–2006
6 Greg Watson 2006–present

Extracurricular activitiesEdit

Mount Roskill Grammar School offers sports, music and other extracurricular activities. Notably there are culture groups in Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Kapa haka, Tongan, Samoan, Tokelauan, Niuean and Cook Islands culture. The Indian Dance group won the 2007 Annual Bollywood Highschool Dance Competition.[11]

The Boys Chorus (Mr G's Boys Chorus) was actively involved in Barbershop Music, winning a record of 5 consecutive Auckland Regional titles in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 as well as the New Zealand National Young Singers in Harmony Championships in 2002, 2005 and 2006. The school at that time was the only school in New Zealand to have won 3 National Championships, and 2 consecutively.


As of 2017, Mount Roskill Grammar School has 5 houses that have been named after famous New Zealanders - Rutherford (Red), Ngata (Orange), Sheppard (Yellow), Hillary (Green) And Cooper (Blue).[citation needed] Junior students are placed into house groups through their core classes, senior students remain in the houses they were in during year 10.[12]


  • Goodman Fielder School of the Year Award, for Outstanding Performance in Education in 1998.[13]
  • Goodman Fielder Secondary School of the Year Award, in 2002, and finalist in the Secondary School section in 1999 and 2001.[14]

In 2017 the school was twice the winner of the High School League Premier Division Championships.[15]


In 2018, Mount Roskill adopted a completely gender-neutral uniform for its students.[16]



In 1995 the school adopted a peer-mediated programme called "Cool Schools" and with support from Peace Foundation had trained 200 of 2100 students to be mediators in Years 11 through 12.[23] This programme is now the largest student mediation programme in New Zealand.

In March 2010, Mt Roskill Grammar School appeared on the TV3 Consumer Rights program "Target" regarding the introduction of their new uniform and the three-year phase-in time, a costly introduction to parents of existing students. It was met with opposition by the student body but Greg Watson, the principal, pleaded ignorance to the issue and has stated that he had received positive support regarding it. Watson has not informed the school if a change will be made to the way the new school uniform will be introduced.

On 16 March 2011, Campbell Live, a TV3 current affairs programme aired an interview on bullying at Mount Roskill Grammar[24] where a member of the study body had been bullied to a point that she spent "12 lessons in the Dean's office or the administration area across a 7-day period".[25] The school since resolved the matter.[25]

In 2010s the school scrubbed its girls' rugby team due to fighting but brought it under control by 2015.[26]


  1. ^ "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Diamond Jubilee Celebrations" (PDF). Mount Roskill Grammar School Newsletter. February 2013. p. 2.
  4. ^ a b "Surprises on NCEA's report card". The New Zealand Herald. NZME. 8 May 2006. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Mt Roskill Grammar | Education Review Office". Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Mount Roskill Grammar School website". MRGS. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  7. ^ Metro magazine, July/August 2009 issue 335, p. 30.
  8. ^ "Mount Roskill Grammar School Website, Facilities page". Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Beacon Practice Phase 2 Schools". Archived from the original on 15 July 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2007.
  10. ^ "School Qualifications -- Mount Roskill Grammar School". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  11. ^ Radio Tarana Events High School Dance Competition Archived 9 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "House System and Deans – Mt Roskill Grammar School".
  13. ^ New Director named Archived 9 January 2008 at, The University of Auckland news, March 2006. Accessed 12 October 2007. "During his 12 years at Mount Roskill Grammar the roll has grown from 1576 to 2340 students. Staff numbers total 210. The school won the inaugural Goodman Fielder School of the Year Award in 1998."
  14. ^ "Wise Up. A newsletter from the office of Trevor Mallard, Minister of Education". 3 July 2003. Archived from the original on 24 May 2005. Retrieved 4 January 2008.
  15. ^ Daniel Richardson (19 March 2018). "Esports: Mt Roskill Grammar aiming high again in High School League". The New Zealand Herald. NZME. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  16. ^ "School Uniform – Mt Roskill Grammar School".
  17. ^ also attended Auckland Grammar School; completed his secondary education at Mount Roskill Grammar School.
  18. ^[bare URL PDF]
  19. ^ "Expat backs business school". Television New Zealand. 21 February 2005. Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  20. ^ "Food for thought". The Sydney Morning Herald. 19 November 2005. Retrieved 24 June 2018. The son of a radiographer, Hart was raised in Auckland where he attended Mount Roskill Grammar School before leaving at 16.
  21. ^ "Harry McNaughton « SHORTLAND STREET CHARACTERS". Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  22. ^ "Vodafone Warriors Player-Evarn Tuimavave". Archived from the original on 29 April 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
  23. ^ Simon Collins (25 March 2011). "Reporting bullies is encouraged". The New Zealand Herald. NZME. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  24. ^ Keane, P. (Executive Producer). (16 March 2011) 13yo living in fear of school bullies. In Campbell Live. Auckland, New Zealand. Mediaworks Ltd.
  25. ^ a b Watson, G. (2011). Statement to Campbell Live. Mount Roskill Grammar Newsletter.
  26. ^ Campbell Burnes (4 August 2016). "Rugby: Mt Roskill Grammar girl's side making a comeback". The New Zealand Herald. NZME. Retrieved 24 June 2018.

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