Selwyn College, Auckland

Selwyn College is a co-educational state secondary school in Kohimarama, Auckland, New Zealand.

Selwyn College
Selwyn College 20211001-IMG 3696.jpg
Kohimarama Road,
Auckland, New Zealand
Coordinates36°51′45″S 174°50′17″E / 36.8625°S 174.8381°E / -36.8625; 174.8381Coordinates: 36°51′45″S 174°50′17″E / 36.8625°S 174.8381°E / -36.8625; 174.8381
TypeState, co-educational, secondary
Ministry of Education Institution no.49
PrincipalSheryll Ofner
School roll1378[1] (March 2022)
Socio-economic decile4J[2]


Selwyn College was built in 1956[3][4] to service Auckland's rapidly growing suburban sprawl during the post-war population boom[5] and newly developed areas such as MeadowbankSt. Johns and KohimaramaŌrākei. Its founding principal was Ngata Pitcaithly.[6] As a multi-cultural school in the eastern suburbs area, Selwyn values its historic connections with Ngāti Whātua-o-Ōrākei.[7]

The college has an annual full-school term-one musical, and other theatrical productions throughout the year.[8] Selwyn has one of the largest theaters in a New Zealand public school. Selwyn also holds an annual multicultural show, featuring performances from the many ethnic and cultural groups represented in the school's community.

Selwyn has featured in the media as the school that educated the refugees who arrived in New Zealand following the Tampa affair in 2001.[9] The school runs a Refugee Education for Adults and Families programme (REAF), providing classes for adult former refugees. Part of the success of the programme is because of the onsite Carol White Family Centre, opened in 2004.[10]

In 2002, Selwyn College hosted the filming of a popular TV3 television documentary series called School Rules which followed the lives of several of its students.[11] On the occasion of the school's 50th anniversary, Radio New Zealand broadcast a programme surveying the high-profile success of the many musicians who had attended the school.[12]

Prior to the appointment of Sheryll Ofner as principal in 2008, Selwyn College experienced a tumultuous few years as some local residents and the local MP Allan Peachey criticised the school for its falling roll and alleged academic and disciplinary failures. Other members of the school community, parents, teachers and students fiercely defended the school in the face of what they saw as unfair criticisms. Peachey was forced to apologise publicly for sending an offensive email to the then co-principal, Carol White.[13]

The Government dissolved Selwyn's Board of Trustees and replaced it with a commissioner on 20 January 2009, due to longstanding differences between board members and some members of the local community.[14] Some level of stability has been restored to the school in later 2009 as the new administration has consolidated itself. A new uniform has been introduced to help 'rebrand' the school. Academic results, while never as bad as the school's critics made out, have noticeably improved since 2008, with a Selwyn year 12 pupil topping New Zealand in one of the 2009 Cambridge International AS Level Examinations.

Following a range of changes, the school had a significant shift in results, lifting the NCEA Level 1 pass rate from 39% to 93% in seven years. In 2013, pass rates had risen to 93% in Level 1, 94% in Level 2 and 90% in Level 3. Education Professor John Hattie described the progress as "stunning" and an example of "what can happen with inspired, passionate leadership with a laser focus on students".[15] In 2016, the principal Sheryll Ofner won the 2017 Woolf Fisher Award for Education and Excellence which included an 11 week trip to Harvard University and across Europe.[16]

On 16 September 2016 four Selwyn College students had won the Auckland Schools Debating Advanced Open Competition.[17] The school is home to the Barfoot & Thompson Stadium, where numerous local, national and international sporting events are held.[18]


In 2014, the roll was 802, 53% of whom were male, and 47% female. 31 were international students. The ethnic make-up of the school was: 32% New Zealand European, 17% Māori, 13% Pacific Islander, 10% Southeast Asian, 5% Chinese, 4% Arab, 3% Indian, 2% African, 2% Latin American, and 1% "other ethnicity".[19] Selwyn was last visited by the Education Review Office in November 2019.[20]


Notable alumni include:


  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 25 April 2018.
  3. ^ Stone, Russell. "Prelude". History of Selwyn College.
  4. ^ Hunt, Graeme (ed.). "Selwyn College Jubilee Book" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  5. ^ Alastair, Lynn (29 February 2016). "Auckland's Selwyn College celebrates 60th birthday". Stuff. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  6. ^ Simpkin, Gay. "Ngata Prosser Pitcaithly". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Our New Arts Building is Blessed". Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  8. ^ Selwyn College Prospectus Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  9. ^ Baker, Amy (28 October 2015). "Former refugees making the most of life at Selwyn College". Fairfax NZ. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  10. ^ New Zealand Ministry of Education (12 July 2018). "Schooling opens up brighter future for former refugee women". Education Gazette. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  11. ^ Hewitson, Michelle (28 January 2002). "Teen school subjects fail to interest". NZ Herald. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Musical Chairs - Selwyn College". Radio New Zealand. Radio New Zealand. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  13. ^ Rushworth, Anna (25 January 2009). "Six months to shape up". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Govt sacks troubled Selwyn College's board". The New Zealand Herald. 20 January 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  15. ^ @nickjonesnzer, Nicholas Jones Political reporter, NZ Herald (2 April 2014). "NCEA results: One school's stellar climb". NZ Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Selwyn College principal wins national principal award, heads to Harvard". Stuff. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  17. ^ Fitzgerald, Mary (21 September 2015). "Former refugees making the most of life at Selwyn College". Fairfax NZ. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Orakei Local Board Auckland Council" (PDF). Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Selwyn College Education Review". Education Review Office. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Selwyn College - 06/11/2019". Education Review Office. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  21. ^ "AUT appoints Dr Damon Salesa as new VC - News - AUT". Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  22. ^ "Zoë Bell". IMDb. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  23. ^ Moffatt, Glen. "Murray Grindlay - AudioCulture". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  24. ^ Schmidt, Andrew. "The Spelling Mistakes". Audio Culture. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  25. ^ Shute, Gareth. "MCOJ and Rhythm Slave Profile". AudioCulture. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  26. ^ Shute, Gareth. "Semi Lemon Kola profile". Audio Culture. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  27. ^ Shute, Gareth. "Thorazine Shuffle". Audio Culture. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  28. ^ a b Shute, Gareth. "Supergroove profile". Audio Culture. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  29. ^ a b Baillie, Russell (20 November 2014). "Supergroove: There and back again". NZ Herald. NZME. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  30. ^ Kilgallon, Steve (7 September 2013). "Goldenhorse girl, interrupted". Fairfax NZ. Retrieved 25 April 2018.

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