New Plymouth Boys' High School

New Plymouth Boys' High School is a single-sex boys' state secondary school in New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.

New Plymouth Boys' High School
Te Kura Tamātane o Ngāmotu
View of New Plymouth Boys High School
Coronation Avenue
New Plymouth
New Zealand
Coordinates39°03′41″S 174°05′12″E / 39.0613°S 174.0866°E / -39.0613; 174.0866
TypeState single sex boys' secondary (Year 9–13) with boarding facilities
MottoEt comitate, Et virtute, Et Sapientia
"Comradeship, Valour and Wisdom"
Established1882; 142 years ago
Ministry of Education Institution no.171
HeadmasterSam Moore[1]
School roll1,161[2] (February 2024)
Socio-economic decile7O[3]

The school currently caters for approximately 1300 students, including 210 boarders, on its 15 hectares (37 acres) site.[4]

The school often collaborates with the very close-by New Plymouth Girls' High School. For example, the Hillary Challenge team for New Plymouth always draws students from both schools and the jazz band and concert band include musicians from both schools.



New Plymouth Boys' High School was established in 1878 by an Act of Parliament and was officially opened in 1882; the school celebrated its 125th Jubilee in 2007.[5]

Thomas Shailer Weston was for some time a governor of the school.[6]

Pridham Hall


Pridham Hall, named after the first headmaster Ernest Pridham, a Master of the Arts graduate from Dublin, is one of the heritage buildings from New Plymouth, registered by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 Historic Place.

Pridham Hall

Designed by the New Zealand architect William Cumming, Pridham Hall was built between 1918 and 1919 by Boon Bros of New Plymouth and it was for a very long time the main building of the school. It is made of reinforced concrete with a roughcast exterior, and a pressed metal tiles roof with a large roof lantern on the north façade. On the west wing of the building there is a large Elizabethan style window and a large balcony on the front façade towards the cricket ground. Pridham Hall has a large assembly hall featuring timber panelling and wooden columns and several classrooms and laboratories built around it. The building suffered from a serious fire in 1925, that destroyed the classrooms in the South-Eastern corner, affecting also the roof of the assembly hall. The damage was repaired again by the Boon Bros later that year.[7]


  • Ernest Pridham (1882–1911)
  • Bill Moyes (1912–1941)
  • Jack McNaught (1942–1957)
  • John Webster (1958–1967)
  • Wit Alexander (1968–1971)
  • Geoff Cramond (1972–1978)
  • Tom Ryder (1979–1995)
  • Lyal French-Wright (1995–2008)
  • Michael McMenamin (2008–2015)
  • Paul Verić (2015–2019)
  • Sam Moore (2019–present)



New Plymouth Boys' High School currently has four houses. Students are sorted alphabetically into their houses, with the exception of Hatherly, which consists of boarders only.

  • Barak – green
  • Donnelly – blue
  • Hatherly – red
  • Syme – yellow

Huia Ropū system


Huia Ropū (formerly called Groups) is a class attended by all students on Tuesdays and Wednesdays before first period (between 8:35am and 9:00am). In the class, students learn about a variety of topics, including time management, mindfulness, anti-bullying, goal setting and career path planning, among others. Students stay in their Huia group throughout their time in school. There are up to 16 ropū per house, and each ropū is referenced by the first letter of its house followed by its number (e.g. D13 for Donnelly #13).



In 2008, the school acquired a new wing (now known as the French-Wright Block, named for the former headmaster Lyal French-Wright [8]) with facilities for administration, science and mathematics. The wing incorporates modern architecture to add a new flavor to the traditional school.[9] The wing was opened by the prime minister at the time, Helen Clark. [citation needed]

The school has a boarding hostel, providing accommodation for up to 200 boys.

Student-based radio station


New Plymouth Boys' High also had their own radio station named "Gully FM" (however this is discontinued), as the school's "Gully Grounds" (the terrace-style rugby field of Boys' High) are a major part of New Plymouth Boys' High. Gully FM broadcast locally to New Plymouth on 87.9 FM. Gully FM was founded in 2011 after a small group of students got together and put forward a proposal to the headmaster. Gully FM mainly broadcast pop, modern rock and dubstep aimed at the students of the school.[10]

United Space School


New Plymouth Boys' High School and New Plymouth Girls' High School are the only New Zealand schools to take part in the Foundation for International Space Education's United Space School which is held in Houston, Texas each year. One student from each school (and in 2009 a teacher[11]), is selected to attend.

Exchange programme


A student exchange program has been established with a Chilean High School, Colegio San Nicolás de Myra, so that every year students alternate exchanges between New Plymouth and Santiago. In 2006, NPBHS travelled to Chile for the first time, and the next year students from Chile came to NPBHS in return. This exchange has continued into the present, and is run through NPBHS by Tineka Twigley. The school also associates with schools in New Plymouth's sister cities in China and Japan.

Controversy over bullying


After an incident in 2008 when a boarder was beaten by four other students[12] the school's board of trustees commissioned an independent report on bullying in November 2008. The report, released in late January 2009, identified a culture of bullying amongst students in the school's hostel, although the school's board of trustees disputed some of the report's findings.[13] A 2010 Education Review Office review of the school did not highlight any bullying issues, and gave the school a positive report.[14]

Notable alumni


Many successful men have come from the school, including Australian Idol winner Stan Walker, musicians Matt Thomas, Hayden Chisholm, former Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy Rear Admiral Tony Parr,[15] David Gauld (president of the New Zealand Mathematical Society 1981–82), the author and journalist John McBeth, and 24 All Blacks.[citation needed]

In 2018, Professor Emeritus David Penny received one of the highest honours in the science world, to be named a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) foreign associate.[16]

Members of Parliament who attended the school include Andrew Little, John Armstrong, Bruce Beetham, Merv Wellington, Cam Calder and Ken Comber.[17] Harry Barker was mayor of Gisborne for 27 years.[18] Former Supreme Court judge Bill Wilson also attended the school.[19]

Australian media personality and Senator for Victoria, Australia Derryn Hinch attended New Plymouth Boys' High.

See also



  1. ^ "Headmaster". New Plymouth Boys' High School. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  2. ^ "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 14 March 2024.
  3. ^ "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Prospectus" (PDF). 28 September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Governor-General of New Zealand - Speeches". 28 September 2007. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  6. ^ Scholefield, Guy, ed. (1940). A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography : M–Addenda (PDF). Vol. II. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs. p. 484. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Pridham Hall (New Plymouth Boys High School)". Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
  8. ^ "Former headmaster Lyal French-Wright retires from top seat at law firm". 1 February 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Headmaster's Report" (PDF). Through the Gates. 21. New Plymouth Boys' High School Community: 3. April 2009.
  10. ^ Moir, Jo (15 August 2011), School radio gets too close for comfort, Taranaki Daily News Online, retrieved 2 December 2011
  11. ^ Palmer, Harriet (10 June 2009). "Teacher first for space camp". Taranaki Daily News. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Four Teens Given Diversion Over School Bullying". 12 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Bullying culture revealed at Taranaki school". The New Zealand Herald. 31 January 2009.
  14. ^ "New Plymouth Boys' High School". Education Review Office. 13 December 2010. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  15. ^ "RNZN - Chief of Navy". 8 December 2008. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  16. ^ Fuseworks Media. "Professor Emeritus welcomed by prominent US Academy". Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  17. ^ Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. p. 304. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
  18. ^ Milton-Tee, Ann. "Harry Heaton Barker". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  19. ^ Van Beynen, Martin (14 July 2023). "A Shameful Episode - The ruin of Justice Bill Wilson - Part 1". The Press. Retrieved 15 July 2023.