St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College marks 150 years

St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College

Thousands of past students are expected to travel to Napier this weekend for the 150 year anniversary of St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College.

The occasion will begin with an opening ceremony on Friday at 3:00 pm.

On Saturday formalities highlighting the school’s history will be presented, then followed by a celebration dinner.

There will be an exhibition of archival material and oral histories, and a presentation about the school book by historian Malcolm Mullholland.

Stephanie Tibble, a former student and event organiser, has been collecting interviews from kuia (older women) who were students, sisters and principals at the school.

“It’s going to be great to catch up with people, but I think also it’s significant in that St Joseph’s is one of only two Māori girls’ colleges that remain today,” said Tibble.

Jubilee committee chairperson Julie Tangaere said the school was excited to host whānau during the weekend.

“It’s really going to be a great event. St Joseph’s has been home to many girls over the years. It will be great to get together and share memories and acknowledge the school.”

St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College (then named The Providence) was one of the first schools established by the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in 1867.

The school was established in response to a request by Māori Missioner Father Euloge Reignier. His commitment to the education of young Māori was such that he is recorded as riding for days on horseback to pick up children to be educated at the Catholic school.

Former students of St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College include famed Māori activist Dame Whina Cooper.

In 1995, the ownership of the school was handed over from the church to iwi Māori who established a trust board.

Two Sisters remain living on the school grounds to maintain the connection with the founding Order.


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