History of St Paul’s

The rise of St Paul’s Collegiate School, from its small beginnings to its present position as a premier school in the Waikato, began on 12 February 1959 when the School opened under headmastership of Mr W. Ford at the current site on Hukanui Road, Chartwell, Hamilton.

At the time of opening there were seven classrooms and an initial enrolment of 60 boys. The land purchased for the School was a farm called "The Great Oaks" and true to its name, it was full of many oaks. The oak has become a symbol for the school over the years.

St Paul’s takes its name from the greatest apostle of the Mediterranean, Saint Paul; a man who laid the foundations of the church in Greece, Italy and Turkey.

From 1963 to 1969 a number of significant events occurred at the School under the stewardship of Headmaster Hornsby. Among these changes were the construction of the dining hall and the opening of the library and gymnasium and the dedication of the Chapel of Christ the King.

Headmaster Tony Hart, 1970 to 1979, was the driving force to establish a venture school. He had a dream that "Surely one could let a boy spread his wings for a spell and live". This dream was fulfilled in the opening of Tihoi Venture School in 1979.

1985 saw the introduction of girls to St Paul’s with five girls beginning in that first year and a new house created with Harington Day House. In 1992 Harington Boarding House was opened.

Arms and motto

The School arms were adopted in their present form in 1960, comprising of a shield in black and white and the crossed swords of Saint Paul. Under the shield is the Latin motto 'State in Fide', which translates to 'Stand Firm in the Faith'. The motto recognises the central role that the Church plays in the life of St Paul’s. The complete saying was taken from the writings of Saint Paul, First Epistle to the Corinthians (16:13), “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit ye like men, be strong.”

Founders and Founders' day service

Every year there is a service of thanksgiving for the Founders of the school, Messrs George Ivan Clark, Eric Freeman Clayton-Green, Marcus Rattray Fitchett, Harry Gardner Hall, Neville Irving McKean, Paul Clement Scott Sergel, Henry Augustus Swarbrick and Robert Henry Wynyard.

The uniform

The black, white and yellow colours of the uniform were chosen in the planning days of St Paul’s. Mrs Fitchett explained, "The Trustees wished to make use of black because of its association with St Paul’s School, London. After much thought I chose black, yellow and white. So far as I knew, yellow had not been used in any other New Zealand school, it was distinctive and it does not fade. The style of the blazer was copied from those in use at Southwell School and Christ’s College".

The headmasters

  • W Ford 1957 – 1959
  • JD Lewis 1960 – 1962
  • JG Leggat and Rev Pat Parr, acting headmasters May 1962 – 1963
  • HR Hornsby 1963 – 1969
  • AD Hart 1970 – 1980
  • MG Lawrence 1980 – 1991
  • SW Cole 1992 – June 2001
  • GJ Fenton July 2001 – 2009
  • G Lander Jan 2010 – 2021
  • B Skeen April 2021 – present

The houses

Houses at St Paul’s have always been an important part of school life and culture. History of the houses can be found here