A Brief History of Marist Catholic School Herne Bay

In the 1920’s there was a great need for Catholic schools. The people of the Herne Bay area which was then part of the Sacred Heart Parish, Ponsonby, requested a school. In 1927 the building of a church and school was commenced by Mr Thomas Daly. The land on which the building was erected was part of the Casey Estate, at that time still undeveloped and covered in bush and scrub.

The Marist Sisters were asked to staff the new school so, on August 27th 1928, Sisters Kostka and Austin came to Trinity St. School began on September 4th, 1928 with nine students. Soon big increases in the school roll prompted the employment of a lay teacher and a threefold division of the pupils was made.

As the roll expanded, further Sisters came to Trinity Street and further rooms were added. Finally, in 1952 a fine new convent and boarding school was built below the school and opened in 1953. However, at the end of 1975 the boarding school was closed, although the Sisters continued to work in the school until the end of 1980and they finally moved to Te Atatu in 1981.

The school was integrated into the State system in 1983. Roll growth remained stable during this time. In 1995, with the closure of Vermont Street Catholic School, Marist opened its doors to accommodate ex Vermont Street pupils. In the same year, the school altered its Integration Agreement to allow for Year 7 and 8 boys and later girls of this age level too.

Four new classrooms were opened in 2004. Refurbishment of the hall, library, and offices was completed in 2007.

In 2011 the school re-altered its Integration Agreement, taking it back to a school that only accepted pupils from Year 1 to 6.

In 2013 two additional classrooms were moved from Marist College onto our school site to accommodate roll growth.

The Ministry of Education approved roll growth in 2014, allowing the school to take an additional 90 students, from a maximum roll of 210 to a new maximum roll of 300. This began the process of planning a build to accommodate an additional 90 students.

In January of 2018, we proudly opened our new innovative learning environments consisting of a two-story block housing the equivalent of 3 classes in each floor. Through this process, two of our old classrooms were removed from the site. We now have 12 classroom spaces and are ready to expand our roll over the next few years to reach its maximum of 300.

We are an Integrated Catholic Primary School with a maximum roll of 300 students. We take students from Year 1 to 6. In Year 7, our students go on to a variety of schools. Mainly to Marist College, St Mary’s College, St Paul’s College and St Peters College. As our school has grown and progressed over the last 90 years, we are proud of the continued high expectations of behaviour, the embodiment of our school values, the strong academic achievement, and past and present achievements.

Parish Priests through the ages:

·         P.B. Purcell                         1954-1963

·         J. White                                1963-1972

·         M. Kennedy                       1972-1974

·         H. Jillings                              1974-1975

·         W. Flynn                              1975-1977

·         J. Pierce                               1977-1981

·         A. Faith                                 1981-1982           

·         A.E. (Arthyr) Mullen       1982-1999/2000 Fr Mullen was very active in his support of the school. We have a Fr Mullen Reflection Room on site today containing a beautiful icon that he sponsored to remember the work he did with our school community

·         Paul Cronin                         2001-2010 (Admin) Monsignor Cronin was also a fabulous support of the school. As an ex pupil himself, Marist held a special place in his heart. He recalled that the current Room 1 in the administration block used to be the chapel when he was a pupil and he would be an altar server at Mass there. You will notice the stained glass windows around the front door to our administration block shows that the building is dedicated to him. This dedication was undertaken when the building was refurbished as an acknowledgment of his work and support of the school community. 

·         Rory Morrissey                 2007-2011 (in Resid)

·         Philip Handforth               2011 (admin)

·         Philip Handforth               2012 (PP)            

·         Rory Morrissey                 2013 to present. Fr Rory is our current Parish Priest. If you need to be in touch with him for any purpose please follow this link to the parish website. https://ponsonbyhernebayparish.org.nz/parishes/