Waitaki Girls' High School

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Waitaki Girls' High School
Junior Block.JPG
Junior Block
Waitaki Girls' High School
Trent Street, Oamaru, New Zealand
Coordinates 45°05′17″S170°58′25″E / 45.0881°S 170.9735°E / -45.0881; 170.9735 Coordinates: 45°05′17″S170°58′25″E / 45.0881°S 170.9735°E / -45.0881; 170.9735
TypeState, Girls, Secondary years 9-13
Motto Latin: Dulcius Ex Arduis
"Satisfaction from hard work"
Established1887; 135 years ago
Ministry of Education Institution no. 366
PrincipalElizabeth Koni
School roll380 [1] (March 2022)
Socio-economic decile6N [2]
Website waitakigirlshigh.school.nz

Waitaki Girls' High School is a state high school for girls situated in Oamaru, on the East coast of New Zealand. It was founded in 1887 on the initiative of local parliamentarians, Samuel Shrimski and Thomas William Hislop, [3] and presently has a roll of just over 400 girls from the ages of 13 to 18. [4] It also has a boarding hostel which houses approximately 50 girls, including international students and tutors. [5]


The school uses a house system with four houses and accompanying colours: Burn (red), Ferguson (yellow), Gibson (green) and Wilson (blue). These houses were named after the first four principals of the school: Margaret Burn, Catherine Ferguson, [6] Mary Gibson and Jessie Wilson. [6] Competitions between the houses, such as athletics, swimming, choir and drama, are held annually.

The school motto is Dulcius Ex Arduis, which in Latin means "satisfaction from hard work".


Waitaki Girls' High School uses National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) based assessments. A strong emphasis is placed on gaining good marks, with "Excellence Awards" being awarded annually to girls who achieve high marks in their internal and external assessments.

Subjects taught include English, mathematics (statistics and calculus), sciences (chemistry, biology, physics, agriculture), languages (Japanese, German, Maori), classics, computer studies, Geography, History, Physical Education and Art (Painting, Photography, Art History).


Since its establishment in 1887, Waitaki Girls' High School has had 10 principals. The following is a complete list: [7]

1 Margaret Gordon Burn 1887–1892
2Catherine Mary Ferguson1892–1919
3Jessie Banks Wilson1920–1949
4Mary Kathleen Dunning1950–1963
5Joyce Jarrold1963–1979
6Joyce Mayhew1979–1986
7Jeanette Aker1986–1994
8Linda Cowan1994–2007
9Lynlee Smith2007–2012
9Tracy Walker2012–2019
10Elizabeth Koni2020–present

Notable alumnae

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  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 Waitaki Girls' High School". Waitaki Girls' High School. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  4. "Waitaki Girls' High School". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  5. "History of Waitaki Girls' High School". Waitaki Girls' High School. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  6. 1 2 "Graduate Detail". www.womeninhighereducation.eit.ac.nz. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  7. "Our history". Waitaki Girls' High School. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  8. "Old girls lay wreath for past student". Stuff. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  9. "Frame, Janet Paterson". Te Ara.