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Rangi Ruru Girls' School is a New Zealand private girls' day and boarding secondary school located in Merivale, an inner suburb of Christchurch. The school is affiliated to the Presbyterian Church, and serves approximately 662 girls from Years 7 to 13 (ages 10 to 18).

Rangi Ruru Girls' School
Te Koraha 05.JPG
Te Koraha, the administration building of Rangi Ruru
59 Hewitts Road,
Merivale, Christchurch,
Coordinates43°31′09″S 172°37′03″E / 43.5192°S 172.6175°E / -43.5192; 172.6175Coordinates: 43°31′09″S 172°37′03″E / 43.5192°S 172.6175°E / -43.5192; 172.6175
TypeIndependent Single sex girls Intermediate and Secondary (Year 7–13) school with boarding facilities (Boarding from Year 7)
MottoWhaia to te rangi
("Seek the heavenly things")
Ministry of Education Institution no.325
PrincipalDr Sandra Hastie
School roll662[1] (March 2019)
Socio-economic decile10



St Andrew's Church at Rangi Ruru

The school was founded in 1889 when Frederick Gibson bought a school run in Papanui by friends of his, Ada, Kate and Jessie Gresham, who were moving to Australia.[2] The school had 18 students, aged 5 to 16 years old.[3] Initially Gibson's daughters Alice and Helen and their mother Mary ran the school, calling it "Miss Gibson's Private School for Girls". In 1891 the school moved to a building in Webb Street and was renamed Rangi Ruru, meaning "wide sky-shelter". This name had been suggested by a Māori chief of Rapaki Pa, Pāora Taki, a friend of Frederick Gibson.[4] Helen Gibson continued as Principal and her sisters Alice, Ethel, Ruth and Winifred joined as teachers. The school prospered under Helen Gibson's leadership, and grew to over 200 students at the time of her death in 1938.[4] From 1938 until the sale of the school in 1946, Ethel Gibson was principal; her sisters continued to assist and support her.[3]

The school moved to its present site in 1923, as the Webb Street building was becoming too small. Te Koraha, the original house on the site, had been the home of the Rhodes family;[2] it was made available to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York for their June 1901 royal visit to Christchurch.[5][6]

The Rangi Ruru Board of Governors was established in 1946 when Presbyterian Church members purchased the school from the Gibson family. While the Christchurch Presbytery approves appointments, the board is autonomous.[citation needed]

In the early 1980s the school wanted to have an on-site chapel, while simultaneously the congregation of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church at Hospital Corner was declining. It was decided to relocate the church to the school site, and in 1986 the building was moved to land adjacent to the school on Merivale Lane.[7] The church became known as "St Andrew's at Rangi Ruru".

Academic achievementEdit

Rangi Ruru is consistently one of New Zealand's highest-achieving schools in academic achievement.[8]

In 2013, 100 percent of girls leaving Rangi Ruru held at least NCEA Level 1, 98.2 percent held at least NCEA Level 2, and 92.0 percent held at least University Entrance. This is compared to 86.8%, 77.2%, and 55.4% respectively for girls nationally.[9]

Academic scholarshipsEdit

Each year about 3 per cent of Year 13 students studying each subject at level 3 will get Scholarship. In 2009 Rangi Ruru students achieved a total of 62 Scholarships in 18 subjects by 38 students, including 14 with Outstanding Performance. In 2008, Rangi girls achieved a total of 41 Scholarships, including five with Outstanding Performance, in 14 subjects by 31 students. In 2007, Rangi girls achieved 51 Scholarship awards with nearly 44% of successful scholarship entries.[10]


Rangi girls are highly active in over 40 sport codes and the school is recognised for its sporting achievements. It is regularly one of the top performing schools at rowing's Maadi Cup having won the Dawn Cup for overall achievement on a number of occasions. The school has a very high sports participation rate (consistently over 95% per annum), and a large number of girls who are high performance athletes, representing the region or country in their sports code.[citation needed]


Rangi Ruru has an excellent reputation for the cultural and creative opportunities it offers students and the achievement of students in this area. Both while at school and for those who pursue their creative interests through tertiary and career. The school's Visual Arts Faculty is held in particularly high regard and is notable for the number of students achieving NZ Scholarships. In 2004, Rangi Ruru was the first school in New Zealand to perform the musical Les Misérables: School Edition in collaboration with Christ's College.[citation needed]

Notable alumnaeEdit


  1. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 3 April 2019". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b "St Andrew's Presbyterian Church – St Andrew's Church History". Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Alabaster Chronicle No 18, Spring 2002". Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "Gibson, Helena Fannie and Gibson, Mary Victoria". Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  5. ^ "The Christchurch Residence". The Press. LVIII (10950). 27 April 1901. p. 8. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Te Koraha". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  7. ^ "St Andrew's Church (Presbyterian)". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  8. ^ "High Pass Marks in City Schools". The Press. The Press. Archived from the original on 23 February 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  9. ^ "School Qualifications – Rangi Ruru Girls' School". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  10. ^ "School Scholarship Statistics". NZQA. NZQA. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  11. ^ "Tribute to Dr Elizabeth Edgar, leading plant taxonomist and flora-writer" (PDF). New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter. Christchurch, New Zealand: New Zealand Botanical Society (60): 29–30. June 2000. ISSN 2230-3502. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 April 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  12. ^ Egan, Brendon (3 July 2013). "Consistency key as Fenwick seeks improvement". The Press. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  13. ^ Finn, Jeremy. "Kenneth Macfarlane Gresson". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  14. ^ Tutty, Kevin (3 March 2012). "Olympic rower Macfarlane made right choice". Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  15. ^ "North & South, October 2009" (PDF). North & South. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Southbridge cox steers for Rio". The Press. 27 July 2016. p. B16. Retrieved 27 July 2016.

External linksEdit