St Cuthbert's College, Auckland

St Cuthbert's College is a private (independent) non-denominational day and boarding school for girls, located in Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand.

St Cuthbert's College
St Cuthbert's College, Auckland (logo).jpg
122 Market Road
Auckland 1051
New Zealand
Coordinates36°53′14″S 174°46′45″E / 36.88722°S 174.77917°E / -36.88722; 174.77917Coordinates: 36°53′14″S 174°46′45″E / 36.88722°S 174.77917°E / -36.88722; 174.77917
Funding typePrivate
MottoBy Love, Serve[1]
Ministry of Education Institution no.68
PrincipalJustine Mahon
Years offered0 – 13
School roll1438[3] (March 2020)
Socio-economic decile10

The school has a roll of approximately 1300 students and is widely regarded as one of the best academically performing schools in New Zealand.[4][5] In 2015, Metro Magazine stated that "the top academic results in Auckland, every year, are scored by St Cuthbert’s College"[6] and the school has been awarded the title of Metro Magazine's Highest-Ranked Auckland Secondary School for Academic Achievement in 2013,[7] 2014 (when the equivalent of 53 per cent of the Year 13 roll gained scholarships),[8] 2015,[9] 2016,[10] 2017,[11] and 2018.[12]

The school is affiliated with the Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia (AGSA),[13] the New Zealand Boarding Schools' Association (NZBSA),[14] Independent Schools of New Zealand (ISNZ),[15] and is an overseas member of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA).[16]

The school offers both the International Baccalaureate diplomas and the national NCEA qualification.


The college was established as the Auckland Presbyterian College for Ladies Ltd in 1915, when a group of Presbyterian fathers purchased Mt Eden Collegiate, a private school for girls, and appointed Miss Isobel Macdonald as the school's first principal. Miss Macdonald chose the motto, "By Love, Serve", and renamed the school St Cuthbert's College as the Trust Board suggested that a shorter and more distinctive name was required. The school is named after the Northumbrian monk-bishop Saint Cuthbert and, since 1918, it has celebrated St Cuthbert's Day annually in March.[2]

In 1925, the college moved to its present site in Epsom. In 1932, three school houses were established, Dunblane, Elgin and Melrose, each named after places of significance in the life of St Cuthbert.[2]

In 1936, the winter uniform was changed to Black Watch tartan, after the then principal, Lavinia Clouston, had seen the uniform at the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney. Black Watch tartan also has been the summer uniform since 1966.[17]

School mottoEdit

The St Cuthbert's College motto is "By Love, Serve". The motto was chosen to encourage students to share, respect the needs of others, accept different viewpoints and to live peacefully.

The school verse comes from 1 Corinthians 13 chapters 1–13 and is consistent with "By Love, Serve", and students are constantly reminded to be "By Love, Serve".


St Cuthbert's College accepts both day students and boarding students. Boarding students from Years 7 to 13 live in one of St. Cuthbert's three boarding houses: Dunblane, Elgin or Melrose. The boarding community at St Cuthbert's College is very diverse. Boarders come from Asia, the Pacific Islands and a range of other overseas locations, as well as from both urban and rural New Zealand. An increasing number of boarders are local students living between Karaka and the North Shore.[18]



The college offers both the NCEA and the IB qualifications.

In 1999 a Thinking Skills programme was introduced based on Art Costa's Habits of Mind. Senior management credit this programme for the college's continuing ranking as one of New Zealand's top schools.[19]

Physical educationEdit

Physical education is compulsory for all students from Years 1 to 11. Students are also given the opportunity to pitch themselves against other top athletes in local, regional and national tournaments as part of the college's Athlete Pathway Programme.[20]

Over 90 per cent of senior students participate in extra-curricular sporting activities.[18]


In Year 10, the students take part in a four-week experience at Kahunui, a large outdoor living space in the Bay of Plenty bush, where the girls participate in physical activities as well as academic work that is taught by practical applications (e.g. maths is covered in budgeting and English through creative writing journal entries).[21]

Run by a dedicated team of eight academic and outdoor instructors as well as three ground staff, Kahunui welcomes groups of approximately 24 girls in a number of intakes throughout the year.[22] During their time at Kahunui, the girls are divided into groups of eight students and they are expected to live in and manage their own residence.


  • Isobel MacDonald 1915-1921
  • L. Clouston 1921-1948
  • V. Wood 1949-1968
  • O.J. Holland 1969-1989
  • F.J. Compton 1989-1995
  • Lydia J. Reid 1996-2016
  • Roz Mexted 2017
  • Justine Mahon 2018-present

Notable alumnaeEdit

Alumnae of St Cuthbert's College are commonly referred to as Old Girls, and may elect to join the school's alumnae association, the Old Girls' Association. Some notable St Cuthbert's Old Girls include:

Cultural referencesEdit

In the bro'Town première episode "The Weakest Link" (2004), one of the school competing in the high school quiz challenge is named "Saint Cuthersan's College", a combination of both St Cuthbert's and the nearby Diocesan School for Girls.[31]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Mission Statement". Our College. St Cuthbert's College. 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
  2. ^ a b c "History of the College". Campus Life. St Cuthbert's College. 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
  3. ^ "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  4. ^ BONI, DITA DE (17 April 2002). "A-plus attitude keeps school top of the tree". NZ Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Two Auckland schools top in country". NZ Herald. 30 June 2000. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  6. ^ Noted. "Auckland's Most Influential: Educators - Metro". Noted. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  7. ^ Noted. "The Best Schools in Auckland 2013 - Metro". Noted. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  8. ^ Noted. "The Best Schools in Auckland 2014 - Metro". Noted. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  9. ^ Noted. "The Best Schools in Auckland 2015 - Metro". Noted. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  10. ^ Noted. "The best schools in Auckland 2016 - Metro". Noted. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  11. ^ Noted. "The Best Schools in Auckland 2017". Noted. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  12. ^ Noted. "The Best Schools in Auckland 2018". Noted. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Member Schools". New Zealand. The Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia. 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
  14. ^ "New Zealand Boarding Schools - Northland/Auckland Region". Directory. The New Zealand Boarding Schools' Association. 2007. Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
  15. ^ "St Cuthbert's College". ISNZ Member Schools. Independent Schools of New Zealand. 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
  16. ^ "Overseas". AHISA Schools. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. 2007. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
  17. ^ "Blackwatch Tartan". Campus Life. St Cuthbert's College. 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
  18. ^ a b Smith, Jacqueline (31 August 2008). "Boarding at nearby schools a new trend". New Zealand Herald.
  19. ^ De Bondi, Dita (29 April 2002). "Thinking skills break patterns". New Zealand Herald.
  20. ^ "Performance and social | St Cuthbert's College". Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  21. ^ "The Kahunui difference | St Cuthbert's College". Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  22. ^ "The Kahunui difference | St Cuthbert's College". Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  23. ^ "Rowing dominates finalists for the 2009 Halberg sports awards". Radio New Zealand. 2 January 2010.
  24. ^ "Yachting: Kiwi teens win 420 World Champs". New Zealand Herald. 6 August 2009.
  25. ^ "St Cuthbert's College Year 13 students Bianca Barbarich-Bacher (right) and Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick". Newspix (NZ Herald). Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  26. ^ Middleton, Julie (7 September 2004). "Counting the beat with Christine Fletcher". New Zealand Herald.
  27. ^ a b c d "St Cuthbert's Olympians". East and Bays Courier (via 27 June 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  28. ^ Dann, Jennifer (27 February 2018). "Twelve Questions with Kiwi director Roseanne Liang". The New Zealand Herald.
  29. ^ "Willow Macky Q.S.M." The Ballad of Captain Cook. New Zealand Folk Song. 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
  30. ^ "ARTZONE - Article - Rebellious Friends". Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  31. ^ "bro'Town - The Weakest Link". NZ on Screen. Retrieved 21 November 2013.

External linksEdit