St Kevin's College, Oamaru

Last updated

St Kevin's College, Oamaru
St. Kevin's College Oamaru Logo.gif
St Kevin's College, Oamaru
44a Taward Street

New Zealand
Coordinates 45°04′03″S170°59′00″E / 45.0674°S 170.9832°E / -45.0674; 170.9832 Coordinates: 45°04′03″S170°59′00″E / 45.0674°S 170.9832°E / -45.0674; 170.9832
TypeIntegrated co-educational secondary
Motto Latin: Facere et Docere
('To Do and To Teach')
Established6 February 1927; 95 years ago
FounderHis Lordship Most Rev. Bishop James Whyte D.D., J.C.D
Ministry of Education Institution no. 369
PrincipalJo Walshe BA, Dip Tch, Grad Dip (Theo), Grad Dip (RelSt)
ChaplainVery Rev. Fr Wayne Healey
School roll441 [1] (March 2022)
CampusSt Kevins College Redcastle
Socio-economic decile7O [2]
Affiliations Roman Catholic, Christian Brothers, Dominican Sisters

St Kevin's College (also called Redcastle) in Oamaru, New Zealand, is a Catholic, coeducational, integrated, boarding and day, secondary school. It was founded by the Christian Brothers in 1927 for boys and became a co-educational school in 1983 when the Dominican Sisters closed down their school at Teschemakers. The College became a state integrated school in 1983. [3] [4] The Christian Brothers ceased to be on the teaching staff of the college in the late 1990s but remained the school's proprietor, and so appointed representatives to the college board, until 2019 when they transferred the ownership of St Kevin's College to the Bishop of Dunedin. [5] [6]



In 2019, St Kevin's College had a roll of about 450 students including approximately 80 boarding students and 370 day students. Its gender composition in 2019 was female 50% and Male 50%. In that year, the college's maximum roll under the Education Act 1989 was 465 pupils. [6] In 2016, its ethnic composition was NZ European/Pākehā 70%, Asian 10%, Pacific 5% and Māori 10% and other 5%. St Kevin's College has a strong Catholic focus. [7] [8]


In February 1983 St Kevin's became co-educational. Until 1979 girls boarded at Teschemakers, a secondary school located about 12 km south of Oamaru. St Kevin's College currently has boarding capacity for over 100 girls. [4] Also in 1983, the college was integrated as a College with a "special character" under the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975. The special character is broadly the connection of the school with the Catholic faith. Preference of enrolment is given to students who have established a link with the Catholic Church through baptism or membership of a parish. Preference is decided by the appropriate parish priest in each case. A preference certificate from the student's parish is required for each student with their application for enrolment at the school. Under the Act, the school may enrol "non-preference" students but the enrolment of such students is restricted to 5% of the total roll. [9]

Students come mainly from Oamaru and the surrounding rural areas (many of them ex-pupils of St Joseph's School, Oamaru) with some coming from more distant New Zealand and overseas locations. The school benefits from modern facilities and spacious grounds to provide, amongst other learning opportunities, an equestrian academy, a primary-industry trades academy, and opportunities in the media and a wide range of sports activities. [10]


The college has produced seven All Blacks and one Silver Fern. Students participate in many sports including: hockey, rugby, basketball, soccer, netball, swimming, rowing, cricket, tennis, squash, badminton, skiing, snowboarding, multi-sport, athletics, tramping and kayaking. Swimming, athletic and cross-country sports are particularly emphasised and all students participate. [11] The college has its own golf course, swimming pool, turf and gymnasium. [12] St Kevins strongly participates in Rugby competitions. There is an annual game with Waitaki Boys' High School (located near Redcastle) for the Leo O’Malley Memorial Trophy ("the peanut"). This attracts up to 5000 spectators in anticipation of a tight match. Over the years Waitaki has been a more frequent winner hoisting the trophy on 53 occasions to St Kevin's 21 wins with 5 draws. This rivalry is often referred to as "the blooder" by St Kevin's students, originating from St Kevin's students calling Waitaki Boys blood nuts because of the colour of their blazers. [11] [13]

Media and performance

The College emphasises public speaking, singing, drama, debating, choirs, dance, reading aloud, role plays and scripture reading. Cultural activities, such as the annual choral festival and annual production, are timetabled into the school year so that all students are involved to some degree. The College participates in the annual Bishop's Shield Competition which it has won several times. Debating is also encouraged. Many students learn music and learn to play musical instruments within the school day. The college has music ensembles and some students play in groups and orchestras outside the college. There is a Chapel Choir for College liturgical events. [14]

Boarding hostel

In 2019 a million-dollar upgrade of the five-building hostel block was commenced with the aim of attracting more boarding student enrolments. The improvements were funded by the Christian Brothers. [6]




The establishment of a Catholic boarding school for boys in Otago was first proposed 1890. However, it was not until 1925 that the preparations for the establishment began. The Bishop of Dunedin, James Whyte, asked the Christian Brothers to set up the school. They had, from 1876, conducted the Christian Brothers School in Dunedin. [15] This school had for a time taken boarders in a hostel which operated from 1919 until 1924. [17] Various sites were inspected by the Bishop and the Provincial of the Christian Brothers, P. I. Hickey, and the property called "Redcastle" in Oamaru was chosen as the most suitable site. [15]


The site of the college was originally developed by the McLean and Buckley families. John McLean was born on the island of Mull, Scotland, in 1818. He (with his brothers) made his fortune in developing and exploiting High Country sheep stations (particularly "Morven Hills" in the Lindis Pass) and by selling them at the right time. [18]

McLean purchased the Oamaru land in 1857 as part of much larger block for about 10/- an acre. Much of it was sold off, but he retained the area which is now the school, and he resided there from the 1860s. By 1871 he was running 10,000 sheep on the property. He was the Oamaru member for the Otago Provincial Council [18] and he was also a member of the New Zealand Legislative Council (1867–1872). [19] He died in 1902 and the land passed to his nephew, St John McLean Buckley. [20]

The original homestead was one-storied with a thatched roof. When the old house burned down, Buckley built the red brick residence with Oamaru stone facing, now known as the "Castle" and, since he was very fond of horse-racing, he built large stables (a building now named "The Stables"), St John Buckley died in 1915 and his son, also named John Buckley, sold the property to a syndicate of local people. The property was called "Redcastle". [21] [22]

Redcastle was known for its beauty and its sporting associations (particularly those of St John McLean Buckley – He was, apart from his horse racing interests, president of cycling, coursing, gymnastic and tennis clubs [20] ). The homestead (the "castle") was (and is) a significant country house. The property comprising 40 acres (160,000 m2) was purchased by the Christian Brothers at a cost of £8000 in 1925 and a further 10 acres (40,000 m2) were added, at a cost of £1000, in 1928. The present campus thus has an area of 27 hectares. [23]

In May 1926, Brother Moore, who had experience in fund-raising, came to Dunedin to organise a bazaar and lottery to fund the purchase of the land and the establishment of the college. His confrere, Brother Dowd, toured the country districts to collect donations. These initiatives resulted in a fund of £7000. In 1926, the construction of the buildings began under the supervision of Brother Prunster. [15]


The college was named after the Irish saint, Kevin (498–618), the founder of the monastery and school of Glendalough. The blessing and opening of the college took place on Sunday, 6 February 1927. There were several Bishops present: Archbishop Redwood and Bishops O'Shea, Whyte, Cleary, Brodie and Liston. There were many priests and more than 2,500 friends and well-wishers present coming from Dunedin and nearby parts of both Otago and Canterbury. [15] Classes commenced on Tuesday, 8 February 1927. There were 60 boarders and 31 day students. The Christian Brothers on the first staff were Brother Magee (the Rector) and Brothers Bowler, Brennan, Le Breton, Dowd, Ryan, Mills and Maye. [24] The Rector of Waitaki Boys' High School, Frank Milner, was present at the opening. When Frank Milner ("a firm friend of St Kevin's") died in 1944, the St Kevin's Boys formed a guard of honour for his remains as they left the church after the funeral service. [25]


For its first 55 years, St Kevin's College was typical of Christian Brother boarding institutions in Australia and New Zealand. They were designed to provide a Catholic education for the sons of rural Catholic families. For the Christian Brothers they were places of particularly hard work. Individual Brothers taught throughout the day, coached sports teams after school, supervised meals and study, and were responsible for the dormitories at night. The Brothers generally had to be young men with energy. [26]

Notable alumni

The college has produced 19 Christian Brothers and 7 Brothers belonging to other Religious Orders, 101 Priests[ citation needed ], 1 Bishop, 1 Archbishop (who was also a cardinal). In sport, 2 Silver Ferns and 7 All Blacks (including 3 captains) have been students at St Kevin's.

Notable former students include:

See also


  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 12 February 2015.
  3. "History of St Kevin's College" Archived 2 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved 30 August 2014)
  4. 1 2 3 Graeme Donaldson, pp. 8 and 10.
  5. Daniel Birchfield, "St Kevin's to change hands", Otago Day Times, 13 June 2019 (Retrieved 21 June 2019)
  6. 1 2 3 Jeff Dillon, "Southern college changes ownership after 90 years", NZ Catholic 14 July 2019, p. 3. (Retrieved 6 August 2019)
  7. "St Kevins College (Oamaru) 25/10/2019", Education Review Office, School report (Retrieved 16 July 2022)
  8. "St Kevin's College, Profile (Retrieved 30 August 2014)
  9. "St Kevin's College enrolment" (Retrieved 1 September 2014)
  10. St Kevin's College, "About" (Retrieved 6 June 2019)
  11. 1 2 "St Kevin's College Sport" (Retrieved 1 September 2014)
  12. "About St Kevin's College" (Retrieved 1 September 2014)
  13. Rugby results table (Retrieved 1 September 2014)
  14. "St Kevin's College Culture" Archived 2 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved 1 September 2014)
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 Redcastle Recollections, A Golden Jubilee Volume, p. 2.
  16. Kayla Hodge, "New Principal adding her own chapter", Otago Daily Times, 21 September 2021 (retrieved June 2022)
  17. O'Neill, p. 78.
  18. 1 2 Robert Pinney, Early Northern Otago Runs, Collins, Auckland, 1981, pp. 141–143.
  19. Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 158. OCLC   154283103.
  20. 1 2 "Buckley, St. John Mclean", The Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Otago & Southland Provincial Districts' retrieved 2 September 2014.
  21. O'Neill, pp. 79, 81.
  22. "St Kevin's College: A Brief History" Archived 2 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine ; retrieved 1 September 2014.
  23. "About St Kevin's College"; retrieved 30 August 2014.
  24. O'Neill, p. 84.
  25. O'Neill, pp. 83 and 90.
  26. Robertson, p. 40.
  27. New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa 2001, p. 198.
  28. "Homecoming for former SKC girl". 18 March 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  29. "From St Kevin's to the world cup". 7 June 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2022.

Related Research Articles

Oamaru Town in Otago, New Zealand

Oamaru is the largest town in North Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand, it is the main town in the Waitaki District. It is 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Timaru and 120 kilometres (75 mi) north of Dunedin on the Pacific coast; State Highway 1 and the railway Main South Line connect it to both cities. With a population of 13,850, Oamaru is the 28th largest urban area in New Zealand, and the third largest in Otago behind Dunedin and Queenstown. The town is the seat of Waitaki District, which includes the surrounding towns of Kurow, Weston, Palmerston, and Hampden. which combined have a total population of 23,200.

Anglican Diocese of Dunedin

The Diocese of Dunedin is one of the thirteen dioceses and hui amorangi of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. The diocese covers the same area as the provinces of Otago and Southland in the South Island of New Zealand. Area 65,990 km2, population 272,541 (2001). Anglicans are traditionally the third largest religious group in Otago and Southland after Presbyterians and Roman Catholics.

Verdon College School in Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand

Verdon College is a co-educational Roman Catholic high school in Invercargill, New Zealand, teaching students from year 7 to 15. The college is named after Bishop Michael Verdon (1838–1918) who was the second Catholic Bishop of Dunedin (1896–1918). It has the highest rate of achievement in NCEA results for secondary schools in Invercargill city.

Kavanagh College is a Catholic, state-integrated, co-educational, secondary school located in central Dunedin, New Zealand. The school was founded in 1989 as the successor of several other secondary schools the oldest of which was founded in 1871. Kavanagh is the only Catholic secondary school in Dunedin and is open to enrolments from throughout the entire city. The school's proprietor is the Bishop of Dunedin. The school will be known as Trinity Catholic College from 2023.

St Patricks College, Silverstream School

St Patrick's College is a state-integrated Catholic boys' day and boarding Secondary School located in Silverstream, Upper Hutt, New Zealand. It was established in 1931 when the original St Patrick's College, Wellington that had established in 1885 was intended to be moved to a larger site more suited to a boarding school, but both colleges survived as independent institutions.

St Peters College, Auckland School in Auckland, New Zealand

St Peter's College is a Catholic secondary school for boys, located in Auckland, New Zealand, in the central city suburb of Grafton. With a roll of over 1300, the school is one of the largest Catholic schools in New Zealand. St Peter's College was established in 1939 as a successor of Auckland's earliest school and of St Peter's School, founded in 1857. The Outhwaite family, who acquired the land around 1841, donated the site of the college. The Christian Brothers provided staff for the college for 70 years.

Sacred Heart College, Auckland State-integrated school in Auckland, New Zealand

Sacred Heart College is a secondary school in Auckland, New Zealand. It is a Catholic, Marist College set on 60 acres (24 ha) of land overlooking the Tamaki Estuary in Glen Innes.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Dunedin

The Latin Rite Catholic Diocese of Dunedin is a suffragan diocese of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington. It was formed on 26 November 1869 from a portion of the territory in the Diocese of Wellington, before it was elevated to an archdiocese.

The architecture of New Zealand, though influenced by various cultures, expresses predominantly European styles. Polynesian influences emerge in some areas.

Dunedin North (New Zealand electorate) Former electorate in Otago, New Zealand

Dunedin North is a former New Zealand parliamentary electorate, which returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the New Zealand House of Representatives. It was established for the 1905 election and has existed since. It was last held by David Clark of the New Zealand Labour Party, who replaced the long-standing representative Pete Hodgson. It was considered a safe Labour seat, with Labour holding the seat for all but one term (1975–1978) since 1928. In the 2020 electoral boundary review, Otago Peninsula was added to the area to address a population quota shortfall; with this change the electorate was succeeded by the Dunedin electorate in the 2020 election.

Waitaki Boys' High School is a secondary school for boys located in the northern part of the town of Oamaru, Otago, New Zealand, with day and boarding facilities, and was founded in 1883. As of 2020, it has a school roll of approximately 400 students.

Liston College School

Liston College is a school in Henderson, Auckland, New Zealand, for year seven to 13 boys and offers a Catholic education to its students. It was the second school opened by the Christian Brothers in Auckland. It was named after Archbishop Liston (1881–1976), the seventh Catholic Bishop of Auckland (1929–1970). The school was founded in 1974 to serve the Catholic families of West Auckland and to absorb the growing number of boys who travelled daily to St Peter's College in central Auckland.

St Thomas of Canterbury College School

St Thomas of Canterbury College is a college for year 7 to 13 boys and offers a Catholic education to its students. It is located in Christchurch, New Zealand. The college is integrated into the state education system under an integration agreement which was first entered into by the Christian Brothers and the Government of New Zealand on 11 November 1981 under Section 7 of the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975. St Thomas of Canterbury College is located in the Christchurch suburb of Sockburn.

The Congregation of Christian Brothers in New Zealand is part of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, a Catholic religious institute, and has been established in New Zealand since 1876. Its particular charism is the education of boys and in New Zealand it has been responsible for eight schools and has launched other educational initiatives.

Waitaki (New Zealand electorate) Electoral district in Otago and Canturbury, New Zealand

Waitaki is an electorate for the New Zealand House of Representatives that crosses the boundary of North Otago and South Canterbury towns on the East Coast of the South Island. The electorate was first established for the 1871 election that determined the 5th New Zealand Parliament. It has been abolished and re-established several times and in its early years was a two-member electorate for two parliamentary terms. The current electorate has existed since the 2008 election and is held by Jacqui Dean of the National Party.

St Joseph's School is a school in Oamaru, the largest town in North Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand. It was established by an order of Catholic nuns — Dominican Sisters — who started teaching in Oamaru in 1882. It is associated with St Patrick's Basilica, Oamaru

Kevin Skinner (rugby union) New Zealand rugby union player

Kevin Lawrence Skinner was a rugby union player from New Zealand who won 20 full caps for the All Blacks, two of them as captain. He was also a heavyweight boxer, winning the New Zealand championship in 1947.

Hugh John O'Neill was the Roman Catholic coadjutor Bishop of Dunedin (1943–1949).

James Whyte (bishop)

James Whyte was the third Roman Catholic Bishop of Dunedin (1920–1957).

John McLean (New Zealand politician)

John McLean was a runholder, first in Australia and then in New Zealand. From a poor background in Scotland, he and his brother Allan had the largest number of sheep in New Zealand. John McLean was also a politician, and he served on the Otago Provincial Council and the New Zealand Legislative Council.